Folarin Orimolade '17 wraps up storied Dartmouth career
On Tuesday Dec. 20, 2016, Dartmouth linebacker Folarin Orimolade ’17 earned a spot on the STATS Football Championship Subdivision All-America First Team, becoming one of the four linebackers selected this year and only the third Big Green player selected over the last 20 seasons. On Jan. 9, Orimolade was also named to the Athlon FCS All-American team, adding to his second-team FCS All-American honors from both the Associated Press and the American Football Coaches Association.
“Flo,” as Orimolade likes to be called, is one of three captains of the Big Green, just another accomplishment in an already decorated college career which culminated with him winning the Bushnell Cup as Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year in 2016. The Dartmouth star has a resume for a future in the National Football League.
On and off the field, Orimolade’s character and leadership qualities speak almost as loudly as his fearsome athletic ability. Buddy Teevens ’79, head football coach, spoke of Orimolade’s respect.
“When he first arrived, he was a quiet kid,” Teevens said. “He had played a small amount of football, but he was the type of person who always did things the right way. He’s a ‘yes, sir’ or ‘no, ma’am’ type of guy. Mom and dad did a wonderful job with him.”
It’s easy to forget that the 6-foot, 235-pound Orimolade was once a freshman. Not unlike other first-years, when Orimolade entered the Big Green Football program, he had to work to fit in and find his role. He was the new guy. According to him, making the transition felt like a whirlwind.
“Coming in, I just wanted to try and work my way into the team, and I didn’t want to impose,” Orimolade said. “You don’t really know the players, the lifestyle or anything really. Once you’re able to get a hand on things, it becomes a lot easier to focus on the field and get better.”
That focus has paid dividends. Orimolade arrived in Hanover with the physical talent; few linebackers can claim a 4.50 second 40-yard dash. But as Teevens explained, “it was the subtle things” that have gotten Orimolade so far.
With experience, training and coaching, he blossomed into one of the Big Green’s all-time sacks leaders. By the end of his undergraduate years, he tallied 23.5 sacks, good for second all-time at Dartmouth.
Orimolade’s football savvy has allowed him to excel in special teams and the pass rush. This past season, he led the nation in forced fumbles per game and totaled 83 tackles. He was also named a finalist for the Buck Buchanan award, which is awarded to the top defender in the FCS.
Yet all the accumulated hardware has not gotten to Orimolade’s head.
“It’s the subtle things that make his peers notice him,” Teevens said. “He does everything really well and remains humble about it. Sometimes when it’s a guy like that and not the quarterback, it’s more impactful. He’s comfortable in a leadership role and I’m very proud of that.”
Dominance on the field has brought the Big Green linebacker to the attention of National Football League scouts.
“Literally every NFL team was on campus,” Teevens said.
Orimolade’s next stop? The NFL Players Association Collegiate Bowl on Jan. 21. The game gives talented college football players a chance to show their talents to NFL scouts in live action. During the week leading up to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, nearly 200 scouts, player personnel staff, general managers and head coaches will be in attendance to watch live practices, interview the players and review tape. Teevens noted that the opportunity is very prestigious and said Orimolade is everything these scouts are looking for, citing his ongoing training in Indianapolis.
“I expect good things for him at the showcase,” Teevens said.
Orimolade continues to train in order to be at his best during the game.
“It’s an honor I’m there,” Orimolade said. “I’m just really excited to showcase my talents. Training in the Indianapolis combine preparation facility, I’ve been training to get leaner and faster, being better in space and being even better with my hands.”
Teevens is optimistic about his linebacker’s odds to make it to the NFL.
“Scouts are telling us he could get drafted, and certainly that’s exciting for him, because people think he can play, and I agree with them,” Teevens said. “He just needs to train like how he’s always done. I think [Orimolade] has every opportunity to be seen in camps and training and go on from there.”
For Orimolade, a disappointing senior season in which the team went 4-6 can’t tarnish his time with the Big Green.
“This past season was definitely the hardest one, but the players and people that I met there were so great,” Orimolade said. “I wouldn’t trade it for anyone else, and I’ve had so much fun with them. It’s crazy how time flies by.”