Tennessee needed to add an elite pass rusher in their 2020 class. On Friday, they got a commitment from one of their top targets who fits that description.
BJ Ojulari, a four-star outside linebacker/weak-side defensive end out of Marietta, Georgia, announced his commitment to the Vols on Friday afternoon during a ceremony at Marietta High School. Ojulari chose Tennessee over his other finalists that included Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Auburn, and Florida.
According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Ojulari is the No. 157 overall prospect, No. 10 weak-side defensive end, and No. 17 player in the state of Georgia in the 2020 recruiting cycle.
Ojulari had visited Tennessee’s campus a multitude of times before making his commitment to the Vols. In 2019 alone, Ojulari has visited UT three separate times, and he visited campus three times in 2018 as well.
Tennessee’s ace recruiter, tight ends coach Brian Niedermeyer, played a big role in Ojulari’s decision to commit to the Vols.
“He had a big role in me committing,” Ojulari told Matt Ray of Vol Recruiting Reports about Niedermeyer. “He is very passionate in his recruitment. He is a very good guy to talk to, and every time you go up there he makes it feel like home.”
Ojulari is teammates with four-star quarterback and Tennessee commit Harrison Bailey. The two are also teammates withe five-star tight end Arik Gilbert, one of UT’s top targets in the 2020 recruiting cycle. Vol wide receiver Ramel Keyton was a former four-star receiver for Marietta in the 2019 cycle, and both Bailey and Keyton were also key to Ojulari picking the Vols.
“I just think it was going down there and visiting my teammate Mel (Ramel Keyton) being there, and Harrison being committed going along with the love they showed me from day one,” Ojulari told Vol Recruiting Reports.
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. And he’s done that against some of the top competition in the state of Georgia.
Ojulari is also a standout on Marietta’s track team and competes in several events.
With Ojulari’s commitment, the Vols now have 14 known commits in their 2020 class. Ojulari is Tennessee’s only projected pass rusher committed to them in their 2020 class, and he joins four-star quarterback Harrison Bailey as players from Marietta who are committed to UT.