Football was the first sport Emmanuel Olenga picked up after moving to the United States from the Congo when he was six. After watching his cousin, Notre Dame linebacker Prince Shembo, play the sport, Olenga was hooked.
Ten years later, Olenga is quickly developing into one of the nation’s best defensive end prospects in the class of 2015. Northwestern began recruiting Olenga about a month ago, and the Charlotte (NC) resident has already expressed interest in making a campus visit this season.
“They contacted me about four weeks ago, and every since then, they’ve been staying in touch,” Olenga said of Northwestern’s coaches.
It won’t be the first time Olenga travels to the Midwest. Last season, he made it out to Notre Dame to watch Shembo play in a game, and plans to return to South Bend later this season for another matchup. Olenga is also eyeing one contest between two potential college choices next season: Northwestern at Notre Dame (Saturday, November 15). “That’s a game I’m really looking forward to seeing,” he said.
The schools currently recruiting Olenga include Michigan, Northwestern, Florida State, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Auburn and Clemson. Olenga saw a game in Chapel Hill last season and attended a camp there over the summer. He says the Tar Heels have been contacting him more frequently than any other school, but would not allow that they were his top choice right now. Next week, Olenga will visit Florida State, who he said have started to pursue him more intently in recent weeks.
A possible visit to Evanston could come in November. Olenga likes Northwestern because of the educational benefits it offers, and a football program he believes rapidly improving.
“The fact that they’re moving forward,” he said. “They’re getting better as a team. I can see that.”
Olenga said he last measured out at 6’5’’, 235-pounds, but mentioned he might have grown in the last few months. After transferring high schools this summer, Olenga is likely to garner more interest from top BCS programs during his junior season at Airborne for Christ (NC), where he plays defensive end.
He has no timetable for his decision.
School: Airborne for Christ (NC)
Position: defensive end
Interest: North Carolina, Florida State, Clemson, Notre Dame, Northwestern, others
Notes: has tentative plans to visit Northwestern in November. Drawing interest from top ACC, SEC programs.