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Vols Among Finalists for Elite Pass Rusher

(Photo via Chad Simmons/Rivals)

One of Tennessee’s top pass rushing targets has his top schools finalized, and he’s officially ready to commit.

BJ Ojulari, a four-star outside linebacker/defensive end who plays for Marietta High School in Georgia, spoke with Chad Simmons of and stated that he’s “pretty sure I have my mind made up” on where he’s committing and will announce his decision on Friday, August 16th at 2:50 PM Eastern. His six finalists consist of Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, and LSU.

According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Ojulari is the No. 173 overall prospect, No. 10 weak-side defensive end, and No. 18 recruit in the state of Georgia in the 2020 class.

Ojulari has taken several visits to UT’s campus over the last year, as he’s been to Knoxville at least six times since late July of 2018. Ojulari participated in Nike’s The Opening Finals this summer.

Not only is the talented defender teammates with Tennessee quarterback commit Harrison Bailey, but he’s teammates with several other top targets for the Vols in the 2020 class. Five-star athlete Arik Gilbert, four-star safety and Florida commit Rashad Torrence, and three-star wide receiver Kobe Stewart are also teammates with Ojulari.

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As for Ojulari himself, he’s a very versatile defender who shows a lot of promise at the next level.

Ojulari plays as both a hand-in-the-dirt defensive end and an outside linebacker for Marietta, and that versatility makes him dangerous and hard to defend. He has really good speed off the edge to get into the backfield quickly, but he’s more than just a pass rusher; Ojulari is more than capable of stopping the run and catching running backs, too. He has good enough speed to play sideline to sideline as a linebacker. He’ll still need to learn some more techniques and more of the finer details of whatever position he plays in college, but his raw athleticism and solid football IQ are really good foundations to build on.

As a junior for Marietta, Ojulari totaled 104 tackles, five sacks, 18 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, two passes defended, and a blocked kick according to MaxPreps. In his last two seasons with Marietta, Ojulari has amassed 205 tackles, 14 sacks, 37 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, and four passes defended in 24 games.

Ojulari is also a standout on Marietta’s track team and competes in several events.

Originally, Ojulari was planning on waiting to announce, but he told Simmons that it “really started hitting me a few weeks ago that I might have made my decision.”

Ojulari will announce his decision in the afternoon on August 16th, and it doesn’t sound like he’ll waiver from that commitment.

“Honestly, the six schools are kind of similar,” Ojulari said of his six finalists. “They are all great schools, but the more I thought about it, one school just stood out because of the atmosphere, the love from the coaches, the culture and the plan they have for me there.”

Our Take:

Tennessee has made Ojulari a high priority in the 2020 class. In fact, I know for a fact from conversations I’ve had that he’s higher up on UT’s board than a lot of other pass rushers in this class that some might assume would be higher. The one thing that gives me pause is this: Georgia linebacker Brenton Cox transferring off the team. Ojulari has seemingly been waiting to get the green light from the in-state Bulldogs, and his older brother plays for UGA. The way I look at it, one of two things happened here that potentially made Ojulari decide to go ahead and commit: Either Georgia now has room to add him in their class because of Cox’s departure and told Ojulari he’s good to commit, or even with Cox leaving the Bulldogs still were dragging their feet on Ojulari and he decided enough was enough.

Auburn is also very much in play here, but I think it’s either Tennessee or Georgia for Ojulari. It all just depends on how the Bulldogs have handled things.

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