The Oklahoma Sooners may have found their hidden gem of the 2024 recruiting class: three-star offensive lineman Daniel Akinkunmi.
Akinkunmi is coming to Norman via the NFL Academy in London, England. He has only played football the past few seasons. That’s why people were anxious to see how he’d hold up against some of the nation’s best high school players at the Under Armour All-American practices.
Not only has he held up just fine, but he’s impressed a lot of people, including myself. He’s becoming my favorite player in the class.
From him talking about asking Bill Bedenbaugh for the playbook moments after signing to being the last one on the field earlier this week working on his technique by himself long after the events concluded to his early morning workouts with his future teammates, there’s no question his work ethic is there. And his peers are taking notice.
“We were up at, I think, 3 a.m. lifting,” Stone said. “Me, him and Von (Davon Mitchell) were all in the weight room and I ended up calling J.J. (Jayden Jackson) and I was like, ‘Hey man this dude is going to be special; his work ethic is just like ours.’ I feel like we could definitely make a case to be like Trent Williams and that Gerald McCoy class that we had. I feel like we could really be like that. Us going first round in the same draft class, I feel like he definitely could be special just like that.”
Being the next McCoy and Williams is a lofty goal. That duo went top four in the 2010 NFL draft. But the work ethic is there for both.
Akinkunmi spoke with OUInsider about his relationship with Bedenbaugh.
“We talk every single day,” Akinkunmi said. “He calls my mum every single day. He and my mum are best friends, they talk all of the time. We absolutely love each other. That’s my coach, and I’m never going to change up on him. Unless he gets fired, and let’s be honest, he’ll never get fired, so I’m rocking with Coach B all of the way.”
Akinkunmi said he’s headed straight to Norman after the Under Armour events conclude this week and will immediately get to work on becoming Bedenbaugh and Oklahoma’s next hidden gem.