SpecialMarietta defensive lineman B.J. Ojulari is the MDJ Defensive Player of the Year.

Marietta coach Richard Morgan said B.J. Ojulari is unique.

Not just because of ability as a pass rusher, although he led Cobb County with 18 sacks this season.

Not just because of his ability to stop the run, which Morgan said is second-to-none. Ojulari finished the season with 124 tackles, including 113 solo, and for his efforts he is the Marietta Daily Journal Defensive Player of the Year.

The reason Morgan said Ojulari is unique is because of his motor, because his 6-foot-3, 224-pounds senior leader never comes off the field. Ojulari also starts and plays every snap blocking for quarterback Harrison Bailey on the Blue Devils’ offensive line.

“I’ve never seen a lineman play both sides of the ball and still dominate,” Morgan said. “You know he’s tired in the third and fourth quarters, but he doesn’t show it.”

That was the case when Marietta faced nationally-ranked Edgewater (Fla.) early in the season. Ojulari had 13 tackles, including four for loss and three sacks. Two of the sacks came on fourth down. The Blue Devils offense also rolled up more than 400 yards.

“I was just blown away,” Morgan said after the game. “To have that many tackles and that many sacks against a team that’s second-ranked in Florida is a tremendous effort.

“If you run at him, he tackles you. If you run away from him, he chases it down. If you run inside, he falls back inside and makes the tackle. He’s everything you want a football player to be, and (he has) the highest character you could have.”

It was that kind of effort that was unleashed following his junior year. He knew to get to the next level he had work to do.

“I really honed in my technique,” Ojulari said. “I really worked on becoming a better pass rusher. I worked on my footwork and my (first step).”

Morgan said he knew Ojulari was going to be a special player as a freshman. Even then he was a starter. Morgan said he got stronger as a sophomore, but then got turned loose as a junior.

A season with 104 tackles and five sacks was just a precursor for what was to come.

“The key with B.J. is consistency,” Morgan said. “He makes 10 or 15 important plays every game. He’s a great pass rusher, but stops the run better than anybody.”

Ojulari added his final sack of the season in Marietta’s Class AAAAAAA state championship game victory over then No. 1 Lowndes. He consistently was in on stopping the Vikings’ vaunted running game led by quarterback Jacurri Brown.

Four days later he signed his National Letter of Intent to play his college football at LSU.

While he is looking forward to teaming with his friend and teammate Arik Gilbert with the Tigers, Ojulari said he will always keep Marietta close.

“My teammates are like a brotherhood,” he said. “It’s a family-like feeling. That’s what I’ll miss.”


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