Azeez Ojulari burst onto the scene for the Georgia Bulldogs at the Sugar Bowl a season ago. One of the few bright spots for the Dawgs in an otherwise dismal performance against Texas, Ojulari used that moment to catapult him into stardom this year. The redshirt freshman has impressed his coaches and teammates all season long with his play and with his demeanor.
In fact, he's been so impressive that he was elected a team captain as a freshman, something that's never happened under Kirby Smart at Georgia.
See below for some quotes from Ojulari's media availability today in New Orleans.
Ojulari was asked if he anticipated the role and accolades he has received at this time last year after rehabbing from injury most of the 2018 season:
"To be honest, no that wasn't going through my head really I just wanted an opportunity really, when I was going through that process. Really, I was down at some point and just knowing to try and keep my head up and keep working, but I would probably say... Uh midseason, toward the end. Really thats when I knew I was coming back and feeling better."
Ojulari addressed what is it like to have to fight through an injury early on as a college player:
"Yeah, you feel like you're at the bottom. It's tough because you know its a long process, its nothing that happens quick. and you'll be back, its a long process. You just gotta take it all in and enjoy it, it's tough to enjoy.. You just have to look at it in positive ways."
How important is it to lead by example and not necessarily be as vocal:
"Yeah, I'm trying to work on the vocal party really, I'm not really that vocal. I need to work on that some more. As an example just going out there and leading the boys, especially my group and just stepping ahead and showing them how to do this, doing it right. Doing it the right way, Georgia way. They'll follow by example as long as I lead and show."
How do to make a jump from 2 to year 3 like the one that was made from year 1 to year 2:
"Yes sir! Just come in and keep working, definitely for sure look at what I did this season. Look at what I have to improve for sure. Just go back, after this game, just go through and watch all the things I need to improve on for sure and try to focus on that this offseason and improve on that so I can have a big jump coming into next season."
On if his emergence in bowl games will become a theme and does it serve as an exciting example and look ahead to the next season for other players:
"Yeah, oh yeah. You can say that plays a role in it. For sure, I mean, cause you know, people they do that. They have good players on the team, so it's like oh he has an opportunity to show the coaches what he can do in a game. So it was like this is a big jump for next season for sure. To see where he can play and how he can impact the team.