Oluwole Betiku was one of the players we really wanted to check out last Friday when the Cavs put the pads on for the time this summer. For Betiku, it wasn't just the first time he put the pads on as a Cavalier, it was the first time he put football pads on in his entire life.
Betiku has a fascinating back story to him, outlined here by Scout.com reporter Rachel Klein back in May when the athlete still lived in Maryland- May article. When his guardian, Lavar Arrington landed a job with NFL network in the Southern CA area, Betiku followed along and ended up at Serra.
Watching Betiku, two things were readily apparent, he has a lot of natural athletic ability and is extremely raw as a football player. At a well built 6-3, 230 pounds, he's naturally strong, runs very well and has a non-stop motor.
He's also still learning the game and things identifying where the ball carrier is and reading blocks are still an adventure. When practicing against Serra's zone read, tracking the ball was somewhat of an adventure. One on one, he's already a very effective player but will need time adjusting to the speed of the game and the nuisances of it to really be affective in the trenches.
"This was my first day in pads and I loved it," the affable Betiku said on Friday. "I had a great time, I thought the pads would slow me down but I felt as fast as ever and the pads actually made me feel untouchable out there.
"I grew up playing soccer and basketball so football is still new to me. Lavar has taught me a lot and since I've been here, Rasheem (Green) has really taken me under his wing. Whenever I have a question, I just look to him and he's always so helpful. I've already learned a lot and I'm excited to keep learning and getting better every day."
Betiku recently took a pair of unofficial visits with Green to UCLA and USC and spoke highly of the two L.A schools.
"UCLA was real nice, that's the first school I've seen out here," Betiku said. "When I was lived back east, I always heard great things about the schools in California, the weather and it's all true. I got to watch a NFL player, Datone Jones, work out and that was a lot of fun. The campus is really nice and I liked the coaches a lot.
"I've been to USC twice and it's beautiful there as well. It felt like a big family and the coaches really took me in. I watched a practice and it was incredible how fast everyone plays. They looked like a bunch of gladiators out there. I also got visit with the Engineering program, that's what I want to study so it was a really good visit."
Betiku had previously visited Penn State and Maryland.
"Penn State was really nice and I liked Coach Franklin a lot," Betiku said. "His wife is Nigerian so she knows my culture and I know Lavar would be excited if I had a chance to go to Penn State. I didn't do too many other visits, Lavar said right now, I just need to focus on learning the game and then after my junior season, I'll take a lot more visits. Right now, I'm just going to take everything in, I'm open to everyone and just excited to go through this process and see where things end up."
One of the more intriguing players to watch in the SoCal area this year will be Gardena (Calif.) Serra 2016 defensive lineman Oluwole Betiku...
The new Serra transfer Oluwole Betiku will be one to watch this coming season...