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What sets Sooners target D.J. Wesolak apart? "I'm going to try to outwork you"

3-star 2022 defensive end cites his mentality and work ethic as the main reasons for his rise to prominence on the recruiting trail

Alex Grinch is out to sign freaks, and that isn’t exactly old news.

Look no further than 6-foot-7 defensive end commit Nathan Rawlins-Kibonge, or wunderkind 2022 linebacker pledge Kobie McKinzie. Grinch has made a priority of recruiting physical specimens for his Speed D.

To that end, the Sooners offered another lengthy, athletic defender last week, this time venturing into Missouri to recruit 3-star defensive end D.J. Wesolak.

“I got to talk to Coach Cain, and he was really impressed with my film,” said Wesolak of the offer. “He wanted a day just to get to know me as a person, as a player. He talked to our coaches and loved what he saw."

Wesolak, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound pass rush prodigy, cites his diverse athletic background as the primary reason for his success on the prep gridiron. He’s a standout on the hardwood as well, and the footwork he’s cultivated as a track and field athlete is evident on tape.

“Growing up, I always played four sports,” Wesolak said. “I’m a competitive person; I like to be the best in whatever I’m doing. Playing basketball, it helps with any sport. You’re more explosive when you’re jumping or coming off the ball. In track, it helps me become faster, a more dominant player. It’s helped me a lot.”

It’s certainly put him on the radar for many a Power 5 institution. However, Wesolak has no clear direction as to where he’ll end up playing college football, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only muddied the waters in that capacity. With the NCAA recruiting dead period now extended into April, Wesolak and his peers will have an extremely truncated timetable with which to find a collegiate fit.

“For anyone in my class or the class above me, it’s hard,” he said. “It’s hard to make this decision on where you want to go. Because you’re not on campus, you don’t know [which school] feels like home to you.”

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Wesolak hails from Boonville, Mo., a town of less than ten thousand people that sits just a few miles from Columbia. Perhaps that’s why he carries a highly conspicuous blue-collar mentality, one that drove him to work out almost obsessively during the quarantine period.

“I’ve taken advantage,” he said. “I would wake up in the middle of the night to go work out and push myself to be better. I didn’t want to come back and be behind; I wanted to be ahead of the game.”

Oklahoma isn’t the only program that’s taken note of Wesolak’s drive. Though he’s only just begun to make waves on the national recruiting spectrum, he’s suddenly racking up offers hand over fist. Texas, Iowa, Tennessee and Penn State are among the programs that have extended a scholarship to Wesolak.

However, he stated that he doesn’t intend to sign until his senior year rolls around, and he isn’t willing to whittle down his list of schools based on reputation or scheme.

“I know I’m going to succeed in any type of defense they put me in,” said Wesolak. “Most of my recruiting process is going to be based off relationships, and if I see myself being great in that program.”

But regardless of where he ends up, the small-town Missouri kid’s mission is simple and straightforward: keep grinding.

“I’m going to try to outwork you,” he said. “I’m going to try to be better than you at the game.”

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