Hard work, dedication pays off for former Bengal athlete

Blake High School and Dartmouth College alumni Folarin Orimolade is seeing his hard work and efforts pay off as he is now on his way the NFL.

Orimolade graduated as a member of Blake’s 2012 class. He says, “Blake High School was fun, great people, always a good time. I played a bunch of sports at Blake and had a lot of caring coaches and teachers.”

He only started playing football for Blake in the 10th grade. “Folarin was the epitome of a student-athlete,” says Anthony Nazzaro, former head football coach and current physical education and math teacher, “He excelled in the classroom while taking a very challenging course load. Including several honor and AP courses.  He excelled on the athletic fields as well.”

Orimolade’s work ethic was what set him apart. He says, “It took extra work as an athlete whether it was after school or even during school. In school I just had to listen to my teachers and do the homework and everything usually followed.”

Orimolade dominated the field for the Bengals. His senior year, he helped Blake reach their first ever playoff berth. Mr. Nazzaro adds, “He was a two-way starter for us and an emotional leader on the field as well.  He had a tremendous impact on our success.”  

As a result of his play, Orimolade’s college football recruiting began rising. “Because Flo had such phenomenal grades his recruiting process went very smoothly,” says Mr. Nazzaro. Orimolade ended up accepting a scholarship to Dartmouth.

Dartmouth is an ivy-league school in Hanover, New Hampshire. Orimolade continued his football career there for three-and-a-half years. He says, “Dartmouth is a school that challenges you athletically and academically, and it’s a smaller, more close-knit school.”

During his college years, Orimolade persisted in excelling on the field and in the classroom as he majored in economics. He adds, “I made a lot of lifelong friends. Did things I never imagined myself doing. I became a better, well rounded person. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot as well.”

By the time he was a senior, his accolades included second-team All-American as selected by the Associated Press and the American Football Coaches Association, Bushnell Cup winner as the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year, and All-Ivy League First Team at linebacker. He was also a Buck Buchanan Award Finalist, which is an award recognizing the most outstanding defensive player in D1 football.  

Now, Orimolade has agreed to terms with the Los Angeles Rams as an undrafted free agent.

Orimolade has gone through a lot to get to where he is today. Now, he is seeing his hard work gain him success and recognition. “You have to listen in order to be successful,” says Orimolade, “and always know that you can be better and there are people that help you along your journey because it’s not all about you.”