College football’s national signing day dawns Wednesday, and Olaoluwa Falemi claimed a spot in Texas Tech’s class just in time.
Falemi, a cornerback who was the third-leading tackler for Los Angeles Harbor College in 2011, made an oral commitment to the Red Raiders as he wrapped up a weekend visit Sunday. Falemi said he was measured at 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds on the trip.
“The players were like a family out there,” he said. “They’d be all together a lot as a group. It’s a college town, so everybody gets love out there. The coaches are nice. They’re good and friendly and stuff.”
Tech started recruiting Falemi just last week. Otherwise, he might have gone to Morgan State or Idaho. Falemi said new defensive backs coach John Lovett helped him get acquainted with Tech, and he also likes head coach Tommy Tuberville’s other new defensive staff hires, Terry Price and Art Kaufman.
“They have chemistry,” Falemi said. “They’ve been together a long time, the new coaches that came on the defensive side, so I really like that. The school is nice, the program is nice, so I’m ready to play at Texas Tech.”
Falemi is the Red Raiders’ second pledge who was born in Lagos, Nigeria, the other being Mansfield Summit linebacker Micah Awe. Falemi moved to the United States at about age 11 and attended Banning High School in Wilmington, Calif., the same community in which L.A. Harbor College is located.
During the 2011 season, Falemi made 60 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery for a 7-4 team. He also was credited with 31/2 tackles for loss, four pass breakups and a blocked kick.
“Ola has come a long way,” L.A. Harbor defensive coordinator Reuben Ale said. “His first year here, he was a part-time starter. This past year, he just blossomed. He really did some great things for us. He was our top cover corner.
“He led our special teams in tackles as well. He never came out of the game (defensively). Super kid, super athlete. He’s going to do some good things at the next level.”
Falemi credits his improvement between his freshman and sophomore seasons to being more comfortable and confident in the Seahawks’ system. Ale said he also puts in a lot of work in the weight room, where he’s bench pressed up to 315 pounds.
“A lot of (the improvement) had to do with his work ethic in the weight room and on the field,” Ale said. “He improved a lot of his game mentally because of the extra work and his commitment. Very talented, very skilled guy.”
In addition to Tech, Idaho and Morgan State, Falemi said he had been recruited by San Jose State. Ale said Arizona State inquired about him last week.
Falemi said he goes by “Ola” or “O” for short, because his first name can be a tongue twister. The son of a pharmacist and a businesswoman, Falemi moved to the U.S. in 2000 and said he adapted easily.
“It wasn’t really that much (of an adjustment),” he said, “because when I was younger I always came in the summertime over here, like vacation and stuff, with my family. I was just coming here to stay in 2000.”
TEXAS TECH COMMITMENTS
The following players have signed with or made commitments to Texas Tech. The national signing period begins Wednesday for spring-semester graduates.
Signed at mid-term (9): SaDale Foster, 5-8, 190, IR-KR, Riverside (Calif.) CC/Riverside North HS; Javon Bell, 6-0, 184, WR, Mississippi Gulf Coast CC/Jacksonville (Fla.) Ribault HS; Jared Kaster, 6-4, 268, C, Altair Rice Consolidated; Rashad Fortenberry, 6-5, 283, OT, Mississippi Gulf Coast CC/Franklinton (La.) Bowling Green HS; Lee Adams, 6-3, 265, DE, Riverside (Calif.) CC/Corona (Calif.) Centennial HS; Will Smith, 6-3, 220, OLB, Riverside (Calif.) CC/Riverside (Calif.) Notre Dame HS; Chris Payne, 5-10, 190, LB-S, Mississippi Gulf Coast CC/Columbia (S.C.) HS; Thierry Nguema, 5-11, 175, CB, Corona (Calif.) Santiago; Austin Stewart, 6-2, 200, FS, Pierce (Calif.) College/Charlotte (N.C.) Butler HS.
Oral commitments (16): Clayton Nicholas, 6-3, 210, QB, Abilene Cooper; Quinton White, 5-8, 188, RB, College Station A&M Consolidated; Keenon Ward, 5-10, 180, IR, Snyder; Reginald Davis, 6-1, 188, WR, Tenaha; Dominique Wheeler, 6-1, 175, WR, Crockett; Trey Keenan, 6-6, 270, OT, Argyle; Michael Starts, 6-4, 280, OT-DL, Waco La Vega; Chase Robison, 6-4, 225, DE, Memphis (Tenn.) Christian Brothers; J.J. Bynum, 6-3, 280, DT, College Station A&M Consolidated; Anthony Smith, 5-11, 288, DT, Spring Westfield; Micah Awe, 6-0, 196, LB, Mansfield Summit; Ryan Flannigan, 6-1, 200, LB, Sugar Land Marshall; Kris Williams, 6-2, 202, LB, Dallas Bryan Adams; Olaoluwa Falemi, 5-10, 170, CB, Los Angeles Harbor College/Wilmington (Calif.) Banning HS; Bruce Jones, 5-8, 175, CB, Riverside (Calif.) CC/Corona (Calif.) Roosevelt HS; La’Darius Newbold, 6-1, 190, CB, Lancaster.
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