Gameday Feature: Oguntodu Finally Gets His Chance to Shine

Sept. 24, 2010

Every year, Olaitan Oguntodu comes out and gives everything he has to the sport he has been playing at the University of Kansas for almost five years. Being named the starting safety this year is a great feeling for Oguntodu, but putting in the hard work and the product of that hard work are more important factors in his mind.

“You like to say that the hard work has finally paid off, but I’d like to think that the hard work has been paying off for the last five years. It’s not really about starting though. To me it’s about production, it’s about playing and playing hard.”

Any extra time he has is put into his school work. Oguntodu earned Academic All-Big 12 First Team honors in 2009 and received his marketing degree in the summer of 2009 and his finance degree in December of 2009. Oguntodu is currently pursuing his Master’s in business administration, which he will receive this December. His family has been a major motivation and inspiration for Oguntodu during his five years at KU.

“My relationship with my father, who is definitely an academic person as far as keeping up with me and the things that I do, has been awesome. My parents have done an excellent job of keeping me focused and understanding what’s important in life. Football is the icing on the cake, and I love it, but education is definitely number one.”

While having to work around his busy football schedule, Oguntodu has been able to go above and beyond that of a normal undergraduate student by getting both of his undergraduate degrees in just three-and-a-half years.

“I came into the University of Kansas thinking I wanted to get my Master’s. At some point though, after taking a few classes as a true freshman, I thought maybe a degree would be nice. There are many goals that I have in my life outside of football. So when I got the opportunity to get two degrees in three-and-a-half years, I thought, ‘why not get a Master’s?'”

Growing up in Dallas, Texas, football is a big part of life. At a young age, Oguntodu was able to watch his older brothers play, who were a key part in him also playing football.

“They’re six to eight years older than me and they were playing in high school when I started in fourth grade. I grew up watching them play and the Dallas Cowboys play and I’ve loved it ever since I was a little kid and moved here from Nigeria.”

While football has been a staple in his life, Oguntodu has experienced new and exciting changes this year on the field. After playing under current San Diego Charger safety Darrell Stuckey for the last four years, it was Oguntodu’s chance to show the coaches that he deserves to start. When the staff changed following the 2009 season, it was a fresh start to football at KU, but not to Oguntodu’s mindset.

“My mindset is the same way it is every year, every camp and every spring. It’s learning the assignment, learning the technique and playing football. There’s a part of football that’s learning. As long as I know my assignment and my technique, then football comes really easily to me.”

Football has been a simple thing for Oguntodu because he has been playing it for 13 years now and like math or science, nothing much ever changes.

“To me, it doesn’t matter who you play, there are some things that just don’t change in football which are tackling, seeing the ball, playing the ball and having fun. Football has its fun parts, but there’s nothing better than winning and that’s the ultimate fun.”

Kelli Hamman is a junior from Wichita, Kan. She is majoring in sport management.