Spartan Nation Sat Down with High Prized Recruit C.J. Olaniyan

Hondo S. Carpenter

The Spartan Football program is fast approaching a luxury that hasn’t been the case in East Lansing in a very long time. You could easily list a long line of things that the staff of the football program has done right with the emergence of Mark Dantonio on the scene. One of them would be the fast influx of extremely talented young men to the roster.


2010 is no different. Already holding the pledges of a dozen very talented players, the Spartans have to reassess and in some cases have to take offers off the board of some very talented players. One player whose offer isn’t off the board whom the Spartans and a laundry list of programs would love to add is DE C.J. Olaniyan from Sterling Heights, Michigan.


Spartan Fans Love the Idea of William Gholston and C.J. Olaniyan Playing Together!

Spartan Fans Love the Idea of William Gholston and C.J. Olaniyan Playing Together!

The Olaniyans invited us to their home for an interview, so after the Spartan football practice on Tuesday, we went to his home. Many of you are aware that I had traveled to Nigeria to interview the family of former Spartan basketball player Idong Ibok for a one hour TV documentary (you can watch that by clicking this link), and nearly ten years ago this family had immigrated to America from their also.


Olaniyan’s talents are best displayed with an offer list from around the nation that reads like essentially a who’s who of college football. This big 6’5” 239 pound speedster is a mix of strength, size and speed and would make an amazing addition to the Spartans 2010 roster should he pick the green and white.


Olaniyan is multi-talented. His abilities have Spartan fans dreaming at night about him and William Gholston on the same line, opposite of one another as bookends. That same picture has future Big Ten QBs lying awake in fear. said for a long time that if the decision were left only to C.J. and not other factors that we believed he would have already picked MSU. The Olaniyans are a great family and very close and his father enunciated that last night. “We want C.J. happy. We want him to be at peace as to where he will play football.” C.J. went further, “I want to go make plays.” 


Make plays is what he does. Coach Gill rode him on a visit to East Lansing about pad level and he certainly remembers that talk, but finding flaws in this youngster’s game is difficult to do. He plays fast and ferocious and finds ways to make plays and impact a football game. His mixture of power and speed is phenomenal.


Olaniyan plans to pursue working in the forensics side of criminal law and is refreshingly candid about the fact that life isn’t all football. “I want a degree. I want to be able to say I got something out of football.” He will get it. 


Watching Olaniyan with his family shows just as much about his character as anything else. He is very conscientious of his family and playful with his little sister. Halemat asked me to make sure during out interview on camera that you can see here (LINK) to ask him if she could have his PlayStation two when he leaves for school. When he answered in the affirmative you can hear her joy as her big brother made her day.


The Olaniyans made it clear that they will be making the trip to East Lansing later this fall to meet the coaches as a family (C.J. has) and tour the facilities. “We are coming and we will be there for sure,” was the comment from C.J.’s father, Abdul. Mrs. Olaniyan was just as bold as we left. “I am sure that we will see you when we are at a game at Michigan State. We look forward to going there.”


Later this month Olaniyan will release his top five list. More importantly, mid-season, he will make it known where he plans to play football. Things change so fast in recruiting. Things that may factor in a decision one day can quickly change the next. One thing is certain. C.J. is a fine young man and wherever he picks, that program is fortunate. He is a great football player and a superb person.


The good news for Spartan fans is that with the winds of change and all the dynamics of college football don’t be surprised that after a thorough investigation of his choices if C.J. joins the Spartans. Also don’t be surprised that if he should pick Michigan State that the Spartan Nation would not only add a great football player, but a great family. We are in no way implying that C.J. to MSU is a done deal. When he and his family step on campus that will be a critical visit in his recruitment. What we are saying is that what was once considered an improbability (his commitment to MSU), now certainly has the potential of becoming a reality. 


“I just feel so comfortable with all the coaches up there at Michigan State. It all comes back to that. That whole program gets along and is close. I really like it up there,” was one of many things C.J. told me while we set up the video equipment.


If strong families make strong programs, and I think they do, the Olaniyans would further the strength of the already, fast improving Michigan State program. His parents are excited to get on campus and see MSU for themselves. When C.J. makes the decision to play at some school, no one should be shocked if that choice is MSU. C.J. may be big and strong, but he also has a dotting set of parents that want him to do well in life, not just football. He is already fortunate not for his talent, but his family. Wherever he picks, C.J.’s strong foundation of family will help him to even more success, a success that could be reached both in the classroom and on the field. 


Things do change in recruiting. People’s thoughts and perspectives change. People’s perceptions and ideas change. This fall after visits and observations and all the fan fare of making a college choice is done, who knows where C.J. will choose. The one thing that the Spartan Nation can take solace in is that one of the most sought after players in the nation will give a long, hard look at MSU. It wouldn’t be a shock if he picks East Lansing to play football. 


We said before at that we knew he liked MSU and thought if the decision was solely up to him that we thought he would have already pledged green. We also said that we didn’t think he would pick MSU. Things change. The possibility of picking East Lansing is best summed up in this quote from C.J., “They’re in play.”

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