Shelton (Wash.) tight end and Oregon State commit David Ajamu picked up a Washington offer during…
Ajamu the next Seferian-Jenkins?
Does the feeling of losing the game frustrate Ajamu more than the idea of Hale taking the game from them? "It is frustrating, but you learn from it all," he said stoically. "Every game is a learning experience, and now a lot of the younger guys that were playing with us now know never to underestimate your opponent. They learn from the older guys' mistakes so they can come in and be ready for it all."
With his size and skill set, it's no wonder Ajamu is currently committed to a Pac-12 program - the Oregon State Beavers. But he wasn't always 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds. "I didn't really follow college football until my junior year," he admitted. "I didn't think I was going to play football. My sophomore year I played line and I didn't think I would play in college football as a lineman. But my junior year I got taller and I got really skinny. They put me at a slot and I just kind of took off. My lineman coach told me I could play college football if I wanted. I didn't know anything about it, but my running back (Ralph Kinne) told me how far behind I was so that's when we went to all the camps and all that stuff and that's when it all started rolling."
Ajamu went to camps like the Northwest Elite Football Camp and the Eugene NFTC - and people saw just how talented he is. The offers - like the one from OSU - didn't overwhelm him initially. "The only overwhelming part was the driving to all the camps," he said, matter-of-factly. "Everything else, it didn't go by fast. It went by at a normal pace, but looking back it went fast. But when I was going through it, it was so slow. It felt so slow, but looking back it was pretty quick."
He made his verbal commitment to the Beavers three months ago. "My commitment, it's pretty strong right now," he said. "I'm not really looking at going somewhere else that much. Things could change - no one really knows - so only time will tell. I'm not reaching out and I'm not trying to put myself out there as much as I was. I'm not sending out emails every day and sending out film. Coaches have called me and talked to me about their schools, but right now I'm just satisfied."
While he's not trying to put himself out there, Ajamu did add that if other schools continue to call and show interest he believes he has an obligation to himself to check everything out. "There's a lot that could happen, like if a big school offered, if another Pac-12 school…yeah, I'd go look at it," he said. "I'd like to look at all my options. I do have some favorites on schools, I would rank some schools higher than other in my region, so I'd probably look at the the higher-ranked schools than the other ones."
Any schools in particular? "Um…U-Dub, I'd probably go there and talk to someone because (Austin) Seferian(-Jenkins) goes there," said Ajamu. "He's doing big things and anyone would want to do the same thing he's doing. Everyone would love to be in his shoes. So I'd probably look over there. I think that would probably be the only other one."
Does Ajamu see a lot of Seferian-Jenkins in himself? He leaves that comparison to others to speculate. "A lot of people do that," he said of the comparison. "Some say I look better than he did in high school; some say we look the same. Some say I'm nothing compared to him, but a lot of people do bring that up. Everyone has their own opinion."
Ajamu is going down an eerily similar path; he was used initially out wide as a junior when Shelton was running a spread attack. But with the ability of Kinne as a runner Shelton Head Coach Matt Hinkle went to more of a run-based attack. "I just know…I didn't have a lot of catches like my junior year when we ran the spread," Ajamu said. "We were running power now, so our running back got most of the love. But when the time came I was making big plays."
Ajamu agreed that the move to a power game has really helped him in the areas of blocking and all the little details when it comes to playing on the edge of the line. "That's exactly what it did," he said. "That's what I told a lot of the colleges…they knew I could run and I could catch, but not a lot of them knew if I could block, so this year was the year to show if I could block or not. I did it; I took a lot of pride in blocking. I still do. I was a lineman when I was a sophomore, so it kind of rounded out my edges, so to speak."
It's clear that Washington would love to have another Seferian-Jenkins type in the mix after the end of next year, when it's expected ASJ would complete his third year of eligibility and be immediately available for the 2014 NFL Draft. Ajamu isn't interested in talking hypotheticals about his commitment until the Huskies offer him. "It brings up that question," he said. "It just depends on what I want to do, if I want to go there or here."
So what is Ajamu looking for in a college program and a place where he'll spend at least the next four years of his life? "A good fan base, the school of course," he said. "You're going there to get your degree, to go somewhere. That's one of the reasons you're going there - probably the biggest reason for going there is to learn and to get your education. That's probably one of the biggest things, and UW, I know they have a really good education system. But you have to look at the pros and the cons of each school and what works out the most."
Until UW offers, it's a moot point. But still, they've piqued Ajamu's interest - and it sounds like he'll be reciprocating that interest with an unofficial visit Saturday with Kinne to CenturyLink Field to see UW host Utah. "They did offer me and my running back some tickets, so we're thinking about going," he said. "If the school offers me to come watch and they are close - here's three tickets, bring a couple of friends…yeah. It's like a little night on the town. It's nice, go watch a college game - it's always nice watching a college game."
Ajamu added that he plans on taking his official visit to Oregon State 'probably in December or January', and also hopes to check out the Civil War, which will be played in a couple of weeks in Corvallis. As it stands, the humble Ajamu isn't looking for the kind of attention that makes him an easy target any more than his 6-foot-6 frame already allows. But he also knows that when you have the kind of talent that draws comparisons to players like Seferian-Jenkins, it's not all that tough to stand out in a crowd.
"Everyone knows who I am, but no one really looks at me differently," he said. "They just see what you've always been. It's nice being recruited and all that and when a lot of schools offer you and they want you to play for them - it's a good experience that not a lot of people can go through, having this experience and have the ability to go to a college for free, to have schools want you to play for their school."
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