CONROE, Texas (BVM) — Joseph Jonah-Ajonye is a star for Oak Ridge High School and is one of the very best defensive lineman in prep football. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Texas phenom ranks as the No. 21 player in the class of 2024 according to ESPN.
On3 top-25 DL Joseph Jonah-Ajonye with one of the quickest first steps in the country as an interior pass-rusher. The Georgia commit off to a fast start to senior year @RustyMansell_ @ReuseRecruiting https://t.co/UmyQWznGON pic.twitter.com/lfvg4LfYHl
— Sam Spiegelman (@samspiegs) September 9, 2023
But football is still fairly new to him, not getting into it until he was 13. Jonah-Ajonye is from Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, and moved to the United States when he was 7 years old.
“It was really just for the opportunity of a better life,” Jonah-Ajonye said.
It was a bit of an adjustment as you would expect in all aspects, but the most notable for him was the complete change in diet.
“There’s a lot of sugar and cheese in American food and my stomach was definitely not used to that,” Jonah-Ajonye said. “It took me a while to like it. I didn’t start liking cheese until a couple of months ago.”
Jonah-Ajonye eventually got accustomed to American cuisine as well as other elements of the lifestyle. His uncle, who was already in the United States, was a passionate football fan. This led to Jonah-Ajonye’s discovery of the sport.
“I found a love for it,” Jonah-Ajonye said. “Football has been there ever since.”
It took a few years of convincing his mother to play, but eventually Jonah-Ajonye signed up for football as a high school freshman.
“I was naturally talented at the game, all I needed to do was work on my technique and learn the rules,” Jonah-Ajonye said.
Jonah-Ajonye did just that throughout his high school career, becoming one of the country’s best lineman.
Keep your eyes on 99.
Joseph Jonah-Ajonye is a bully. pic.twitter.com/bwrxStZECN
— Benjamin Wolk (@benjaminwolk) August 29, 2023
On July 6, he announced his college football commitment to the University of Georgia.
First of all I want to Thank God and Thank all the coaches that recruited me and helped me throughout this process. I will be shutting down my recruitment and committing to The University of Georgia. 1,000,000% committed🐶‼️‼️‼️ #Godawgs @Hayesfawcett3 pic.twitter.com/znPLmbomNj
— Joseph Jonah-Ajonye 🇳🇬 (@JosephAjonye99) July 7, 2023
“It was really the commitment between the players, the coaches, the supporting staff and the fans,” Jonah-Ajonye said. “They’re all connected and I feel like that’s what makes them really great.”
Jonah-Ajonye’s recruitment began to blow up after his junior season, but it was a moment during his sophomore year that gave him the extra motivation that he needed.
Joseph Ossai, a family friend and an Oak Ridge High School alum, was selected in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. It was a moment of realization for the current War Eagle on what type of opportunity could be in store for him.
“I was like, ‘If he could do it and make it to the NFL, then I could do it,’” Jonah-Ajonye said. “That’s when I decided I was going to make football my entire life and take it very seriously.”
Oak Ridge 2024 6’5 265lb 4⭐️ DE Joseph Jonah-Ajonye@JosephAjonye99 is a UA All American! He’s strong guy with a lot of strength! He can move around you or move through you with no problem!
Offers: Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Georgia, Texas, Auburn, & more! pic.twitter.com/I5GEggGAKG
— WeDemBos Media (@WeDemBos) May 13, 2023
Jonah-Ajonye eventually wound up with scholarship offers from schools across the country for a free education and that is what the Nigerian native is most proud of up to this point.
“All the rankings are cool, all of the hype is cool, but I feel like my biggest accomplishment is not letting my mom pay for college,” Jonah-Ajonye said. “She has already done enough for me.”
He has his eyes set on becoming an all-time great in the game at the highest level, and after what he hopes to be a legendary career, he wants to continue to build his legacy in other ways.
“After that, I want to go help out in the world and help people in need.”