Thayer’s Okunlola chooses University of Miami
Thayer Academy senior Samson Okunlola will play football at the University of Miami next fall.
“It was hard to get to my decision, and it involved many hours of going back and forth with my family,” said the highly recruited offensive tackle today (Thursday, Dec. 15) at a “reveal” celebration on Thayer’s Braintree campus attended by family, friends, and Okunlola’s fellow classmates, “but now that I’ve picked up that hat and said the words ‘I’m committing to the University of Miami,’ I feel somewhat relieved.”
Standing six feet, five inches tall and weighing 305 pounds, the Brockton resident possesses not only explosive power but also incredible quickness for someone that size. Okunlola is thought to be the first five-star high school recruit to come out of Massachusetts. The senior standout’s list of college finalists included a “who’s who” of the nation’s elite football programs; along with the University of Miami, that list included: Michigan State University, the University of Florida, and the University of Alabama.
The entire Thayer community congratulated Okunlola on his decision.
“Since arriving on campus as a freshman in the fall of 2019, Samson has dedicated himself to absolutely be the best player he can be, and he has succeeded,” said Jeff Toussaint, Thayer’s head football coach. “Outside of his brother Samuel (a member of Thayer’s Class of 2022 who currently plays football at the University of Pittsburgh), I have never seen anyone work as hard as Samson has.”
Toussaint also lauded Okunlola’s dedication to the game, noting that the senior studies film extensively. So much so, said Toussaint, that college coaches often remark that conversations with Okunlola are similar to talking with a colleague.
“I’m so happy for Samson as he embarks on the next chapter of his football and educational journey,” his coach said.
Director of Athletics Bobbi Moran said it’s been an honor to watch Okunlola play football during her first year at Thayer and have the opportunity to work with both Okunlola and Toussaint during the college recruiting process.
“I’ve been deeply impressed with Samson’s poise and humility on and off the field,” said Moran. “He is a great ambassador for Thayer Academy, and we look forward to following his academic and athletic career at the next level.”
Jomel and Monica Okunlola, Samson’s parents, attended the Dec. 15 celebration, which included a silver dollar pancake bar in a nod to Okunlola’s nickname, “The Pancake Honcho.”
The senior graciously signed customized football cards for anyone, including those students in younger grades, who asked.
In addition to older brother Samuel, the Pancake Honcho has two more older brothers, Segun (“Sunny”) and Tim.
Okunlola’s football accomplishments are numerous. He was named All-ISL and ISL Lineman of the Year during his junior season as well as All-NEPSAC and NEPSAC Class B Lineman of the Year. A captain his senior year, Okunlola was again All-ISL and All-NEPSAC in addition to earning the ISL’s Darren Gallup League MVP award and the NEPSAC Player of the Year award.
The coveted prospect was also one of only 100 players selected from across the nation to play in the 2023 All-American Bowl, which will take place Jan. 7, 2023, in San Antonio, Texas.