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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Achievement Unlocked for Ademilola at The Opening

July 10, 2017

Jayson Ademilola has had a heck of an off-season. He's risen up the rankings based largely on his performance The Opening regional in New Jersey and The Opening Finals, which concluded last week at Nike World Headquarters in Oregon.

He punctuated the most recent camp by making the Final 5, which is a showcase of the top five defensive lineman versus the top five offensive lineman and it would be a big deal at just about any camp. But at The Opening Finals in particular, it just means more. Most of the top players in the nation are competing there and Ademilola proved that he is truly one of the best of the best. It's something he set out to do over two years ago and he went out and achieved it.

“I remember the day freshman year when I came up to St. Peter’s Prep after my freshman season, I wrote down a list of goals on my iPad," Ademilola recalled. "One of the goals was to make it to The Opening and make it to the Final 5. And some days it was hard. Some days it was easy. Some days I didn’t think I would make it to The Opening and it just all happened. I just kept on praying and everything and it was a great experience.”

It wasn't even easy for him once he got to this camp. He was unblockable in New Jersey at the regional camp, but didn't have the best performance on day one in Oregon. That didn't deter Ademilola, though, put his head down and kept working. That work and some assistance from the guest coaches were huge for him in improving over the course of the camp to make it to the Final 5.

“First day was kind of rough and then the second day I sat in the meeting room, took notes, went to sleep early, and prepared myself mentally for this time. A lot of guys who came in, like (Florida State’s Josh Sweat) and (Da'Shawn Hand) from Alabama, they really helped me a lot.

"Even my boy Q (Quenton Nelson) from Notre Dame, he helped me a lot on the pointers and everything. I want to thank them so much for helping me get to the finals.”

Nelson was there to coach as an alumni of The Opening where he competed before his senior year of high school. He was supposed to be there to help coach the offensive lineman, but he went out of his way to help his fellow Jersey boy Ademilola. Nelson kept feeding Ademilola tips to get to better and he greatly appreciated how Nelson went out of his way to help him.

“Hand placement, cadence, trying to sneak out and everything," Ademilola mentioned as some of the specifics Nelson was teaching him. "If the guy jumps at you, what to do. Everything. Just being explosive. He really helped me a lot this weekend and I want to thank him a lot.”

Nelson played the role of mentor for Ademilola at the camp, but together they worked as recruiters to team up and sell 5 star guard Jamaree Salyer on the benefits of Notre Dame. Salyer and Ademilola went head to head several times at the camp with Ademilola being the only defensive tackle to win some reps against Salyer on the final day.

“Me and Quenton we sat down with him before (earlier in the camp),” Ademilola said. “We were just telling him, “You’re going to come to ND and you’re going to get coached right, you’re going to play against the best. You’re going to be successful either on the field or off the field. It don’t matter whether you (stay four years and) graduate or whether you go to the league, you will be successful at ND.”

That's a pretty standard pitch that the Notre Dame staff has likely been selling to Salyer as well, but Ademilola's performance at the camp gave him a more unique pitch that not many of Salyer's peers can make.

“I was just telling him ‘You come to ND, I’m going to make you good. You’re going make me great. We’re just going to compete out there just like (in the Final 5)'.”

Time will tell if Salyer will join Ademilola and the battles will continue in practice in the coming years. But with or without Salyer to push him, there is no doubt that Ademilola is self-motivated to become a great player on his own. After this camp a lot of kids get caught up with the free swag or the chance to meet NFL stars like Odell Beckham Jr. With Ademilola, it was about ball and getting better. That's what is going to stick with him.

“Coaching. I picked up a lot of great tips from Ndamukong Suh, Josh Sweat, and Hand. It was one was one of the best weekends of my life just being around the best talent. And just learning their tips to be great and I can put that in my back pocket and get ready for the season. It was a great experience.”
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