B.J. Ojulari leans on advice from brother Azeez, former UGA linebacker

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

LSU defensive end B.J. Ojulari and his older brother, former UGA linebacker Azeez, fought constantly growing up.

“We fought every day but I think that just made us closer now,” Ojulari said Monday at SEC Media Days at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. “So in the backyard competing, it would somehow, some way end up in a fight but at the end of the day we know we love each other and we’re just trying to be great. … It was a lot of breaking up (fight) and stuff like that, but it’s just the competitive nature of both of us.”

The brothers from Marietta are still close, and as their football careers continue on, Ojulari can lean on advice from Azeez, who last season set a Giants rookie sack record (eight). Ojulari himself is making his own way at LSU, playing in 13 games as a sophomore (12 starts), tallying 55 tackles (33 solo), 11.5 tackles for a loss and a team-high seven sacks.

“Azeez, he’s been a great mentor to me, just him going through college football and him now being in the NFL, just being able to lean on him and ask him anything I need,” Ojulari said. “On and off the field, it’s a great help to me.”

They speak every day in the offseason, Ojulari said, more about life than football. But, during the season, they talk two or three times a week, despite hectic schedules. That talk is concentrated more on football than life in general.

Especially with both brothers playing defense, Ojulari can get tailored feedback from Azeez after games.

“He watches all my games, critiques my pass rush and anything that I’m doing on the field, so just having him being there, (his) honest opinion, what he tells me, it’s just great. … Little things like that, if I lose a pass rush rep or something, he just tells me little stuff, little things that I can do, my next game, to help me get the sack next game, or just stuff to help my mentality going into big games,” Ojulari said.

LSU is coming off a disappointing 2021 campaign, finishing 6-7, with the program looking to bounce back under new coach Brian Kelly.

At SEC Media Days Monday, despite his Georgia ties, Ojulari said he has always wanted to build his own legacy at LSU and that he believes in the program. And that his brother supports that decision.

“(Azeez) going to UGA, he wanted me at UGA as well, being a Georgia boy, being at UGA is a big deal. But he told me he respects my decision and he knows I wanted to build my own legacy, and he supported my decision in going to LSU,” Ojulari said.

He added: “Georgia was a big factor (in my recruitment). I love my state so much, playing for Georgia would have been everything to me, playing in Sanford Stadium. But I know coming to LSU, there’s nothing like it. When I took a visit, the way (former coach Ed Orgeron) and his staff embraced me, I knew that if I came to LSU, I’d be able to accomplish anything that I wanted to. … It was never anything to (UGA transfer rumors). I always believed in LSU and the staff and what we can do there as well. So I always have my belief in LSU and I was always planning on sticking with LSU to the end.”