Photo by Twitter / Joey Ogunbanjo
Cal Football Recruiting

Ogunbanjo Chooses Cal on Signing Day

February 7, 2018
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He was perhaps the Bears' biggest defensive target in the 2018 recruiting class with his unique combination of size and speed, and down to the wire on national signing day, 6-3/225 Alief Taylor (Houston, TX) High School outside linebacker Joey Ogunbanjo committed to Cal -one of his two Bears finalists- choosing Cal over Baylor.

The Houston native will be walking into a situation with an abundance of linebacking and defensive expertise with head coach Justin Wilcox, defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter and new outside linebackers coach Peter Sirmon all having played and coached linebackers and all with coordinator experience. Add defensive line coach Tony Tuioti, who coached outside linebackers last year for the Bears and you have a wealth of experience for the new Bear to draw on at Cal.

Twitter / Joey Ogunbanjo

"The coaching staff was definitely a big reason why I decided to go to Cal," said Ogunbanjo. "I really felt a family-type bond among the coaches. And to be honest, when I went out to California on my official visit, it was really great to be out there.

"I'm really excited to be out there for the next four years. I can go to California and come back to Texas later sometimes. But it's the right place for me on my journey to becoming a man.

"You cant really beat the Bay. It was my first time going out there and it was amazing.

"And with the coaches there with a lot of expertise at my position, it made a lot of sense for me to pick Cal."

With his elite combination of length and 4.43 forty speed, the 3 star Ogunbanjo will give the Bears a unique pass-rushing option on the edge. He describes himself as a high-motor player that can play every snap.

"I'm going to really go after the quarterback hard and give my team the best chance they can to win," said Ogunbanjo.

"I know if I work hard, I can play early. My goal is to be on the field on the first snap for the North Carolina game opening the season and then I'll keep going."

The fact that Cal felt like home for Ogunbanjo went a long way towards helping him feel like the Bears were the right fit for him, as the speedy OLB opted to skip several subsequent official visits after his trip to Berkeley last month.

"I went to a meeting with a lot of players there and spent a lot of time with my host Russ Ude," said Ogunbanjo. "The same family feeling I had with the coaches, I also had with the team, so that was great."

The decision to choose Cal wasn't strictly a location, coaching or comfort decision in the end, as Cal's stellar academics played a big role, as well. A 3.9 student, Ogunbanjo hopes to study engineering as a Cal student.

"Education was huge for me," said Ogunbanjo. "The number one public school in the world -you can't really compete with that. That played a big role."

Discussion from...

Ogunbanjo Chooses Cal on Signing Day

chazzed
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Welcome to Cal! May you thrive on the field and in the classroom.
MoragaBear
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Staff
The family loaded up on Cal gear on the official visit

MinotStateBeav
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Welcome to Cal...enjoy the best cuisine in the world. -Ben Braun
KoreAmBear
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Does he compare to Chris McCain?
FrankBear21
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So happy to Have you joining the Bear Family !
MoragaBear
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Staff
KoreAmBear said:

Does he compare to Chris McCain?
A decent amount heavier coming in and 4.4 speed vs. 4.5.
KoreAmBear
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MoragaBear said:

KoreAmBear said:

Does he compare to Chris McCain?
A decent amount heavier coming in and 4.4 speed vs. 4.5.
Nice! Sounds like he has some wingspan too, which is what McCain has.
burritos
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His tape is eye popping.
OaktownBear
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MoragaBear said:

KoreAmBear said:

Does he compare to Chris McCain?
A decent amount heavier coming in and 4.4 speed vs. 4.5.
Okay, if we are going to play this game, how about Ken Harvey?
jy1988
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Looks like just the kind of guy we need to stop mobile QBs
B.A. Bearacus
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Loved what the write-up had to say about him. Paused a second when he said he wanted to study engineering. Hmm... it's been done (see: Joe Igber), but would probably require superhuman time management skills.

Aside from looking like really nice people, his family looks great in Cal gear! Ogunbanjo -- family of Nigerian descent, maybe?

oskirules
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3.9 GPA, nice.

I thought of Joe Igber as well. Last time I spoke with him many years ago, he was working as an engineer in the tri-valley.

Boot
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Every year I wonder why certain players are ranked 3 stars. This future Bear looks like a steal.
RhetoriCal Bear
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Same with Monroe Young.
MoragaBear
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Staff
Boot said:

Every year I wonder why certain players are ranked 3 stars. This future Bear looks like a steal.
Take this year's rankings with a grain of salt. On Scout, there are three 4 stars (Castles isn't showing yet for some reason) and zero 2 stars. On ESPN, the only 2 star is Zellers. For whatever reason, specialists are often rated only 2 stars, even though he's the top rated longsnapper in the country.

Contrary to recent trends in the last few years, Rivals is the only service with multiple 2 star ratings for Cal commits, with 4.

And occasionally you see guys like Ogunbanjo that should clearly be 4 stars.
Bear19
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Great decision, Joey. You're coming to Cal for all the right reasons, and we're fortunate to have you come. Outstanding academics, football skills, values, family. Go Bears!

PS: Houston is just a short hop away on SWA.
hanky1
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This guy looks good. Nice to finally get a win after the recent recruiting hits. So who else are we waiting on or is this it? Small class regardless.
calumnus
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B.A. Bearacus said:

Loved what the write-up had to say about him. Paused a second when he said he wanted to study engineering. Hmm... it's been done (see: Joe Igber), but would probably require superhuman time management skills.

Aside from looking like really nice people, his family looks great in Cal gear! Ogunbanjo -- family of Nigerian descent, maybe?




Yes, Ogunbanjo is a Nigerian name.
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