Success starts in the trenches in college football, and the Miami Hurricanes improved their outlook up front with a major recruiting victory Thursday.
That's because offensive tackle Samson Okunlola chose to join their 2023 recruiting class:
The moment he made it official 🙌<br><br>5⭐️ OT Samson Okunlola commits to Miami 🥞<a href="https://twitter.com/SAMSONOKUNLOLA_?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SAMSONOKUNLOLA_</a> x <a href="https://twitter.com/247Canes?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@247Canes</a> <a href="https://t.co/sCWn98yG8e">pic.twitter.com/sCWn98yG8e</a>
The other finalists were Alabama, Florida and Michigan State.
"For me, it's the situation," Okunlola said of choosing Miami, per Brian Dohn of 247Sports. "I just know there are going to be good dudes coming in there. I know what it is now, it's not going to be like that in a couple of years. That is what it is for me. That is what kept them in the game, just seeing the future. These guys are the best recruiters out there."
Okunlola, who checks in at 6'5" and 305 pounds, is a 5-star prospect and the No. 20 overall player, No. 3 offensive tackle and No. 1 prospect from the state of Massachusetts in his class, per 247Sports' composite rankings.
One look at the number of high-profile programs that offered him a scholarship underscores just how talented he is, and he announced Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, Oklahoma, Oregon, Florida, Penn State, Michigan State and Miami as his nine finalists in June.
His older brother, Samuel, is a defensive lineman who was part of Pittsburgh's 2022 recruiting class.
Dohn projected Okunlola, who was a two-way player in high school, as a future first-round draft pick. Dohn highlighted his "hand placement" and speed, which help him win the battles up front off the snap and then drive defenders downfield and into the second level.
He is also athletic enough to pull in the rushing attack or on screens, which keeps the playbook open and should help him compete for playing time as soon as his freshman season.
If Okunlola lives up to the expectations that come with that skill set, he will be a cornerstone of Miami's offense for the foreseeable future.
This is also a major victory for head coach Mario Cristobal, who has a background as an offensive line coach and needs to win recruiting battles like this if he is going to return the Hurricanes program to elite status.
Miami has the No. 4 class in the country for 2023, per 247Sports' composite rankings.