W.L. Central's Ogundeji picks Irish after 'exciting' recruiting rise

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Adetokunbo Ogundeji, of Walled Lake Central, places a Notre Dame cap on his head after announcing that he will be attending the school to play football. Joining him are Walled Lake Central coach Bob Meyer, and parents Anthonia and Oladapo.

Commerce Township -- Adetokunbo Ogundeji opened the eyes of college coaches at the Sound Mind Sound Body Academy at Macomb Dakota last month. Notre Dame's staff on hand asked Walled Lake Central coach Bob Meyer to bring the talented defensive end to South Bend the following week for a passing camp.

An offer from Irish coach Brian Kelly soon followed, with Ogundeji taking another trip to South Bend the following week with his father, Oladapo.

Ogundeji enjoyed his trip to the Notre Dame campus, and on Thursday evening at the On The Dunes restaurant, he announced his decision to play for the Irish. He was joined by Meyer and other coaches, his parents Oladapo and Anthonia, and his teammates.

Ogundeji, ranked a three-star recruit by Scout.com, had just one offer last fall, from Western Michigan, after making 68 tackles, while deflecting 17 passes to help Central (9-3) win a Division 1 district championship.

"It's been wild and I just let the process play out and it's been very exciting," said the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Ogundeji, who is still growing at age 16 and wearing size 18 shoes. "I decided on Notre Dame about a week ago. I knew I wanted to go there after I took my second trip. I told Coach Kelly about two or three days ago I was going there and he seemed excited.

"When I went there it was a beautiful campus. But first of all I'm going to a school that academically will challenge you, and second the school is known for its tradition, and I'm a big person for tradition. They win and I'm a person who likes to win. I'm a competitor and I like to win at everything I do. I feel like they're going to make me a better player. They said I was long and lean and could do a lot of damage there."

Ogundeji is being recruited to play weak-side defensive end. He originally committed to WMU, then de-committed and opened his recruitment. He picked the Irish over Oregon, Rutgers, Toledo, Pittsburgh and Cal.

Ogundeji talked about the process of going from under-the-radar to being offered by elite college programs.

"It's very shocking and honestly I can't tell you how shocked I really am right now," Ogundeji said. "I'm happy and I definitely want to thank everybody -- Coach Meyer and the coaching staff, my parents and my teammates. If I would have been told last year that I'd be getting all these offers, I'd never believe it.

"Someone once said you'll get noticed if you do your job, and I feel like I did my job and worked hard. Coach Meyer did a great job of getting me to camps and I'm thankful for that."

Meyer knew he had a Division 1 athlete in Ogundeji, but it was tough getting him to camps since he was a three-sport athlete.

"One of the troubles has been that he's a three-sport athlete, so when you see all these guys traveling all across the country, he's playing basketball and doing track, so he didn't have the ability to get away," Meyer said. "It came down to a lot of coaches from programs around the country were coming to see him, but they wanted to see him in person physically perform. There was a lot of interest, but no offers until Sound Mind Sound Body."