Amani Oruwariye Returns To Florida For Final College Game
Before shifting his focus to the NFL draft, Amani Oruwariye will play in front of scores of family and friends at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
The Tampa native is perhaps Penn State’s top pro prospect this season, with some mock drafts projecting him to be selected in the first round this April in Nashville. He leads the team in career interceptions with eight heading into Tuesday’s game against Kentucky.
“I get to be back in my culture of 75 degrees, sunny, palm trees, and then obviously get a chance for my family to get to see me play,” Oruwariye said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”
Oruwariye, who earned first team All-Big Ten recognition as a senior, recently graduated with his second Penn State degree and will represent the Nittany Lions at the 70th annual Senior Bowl January 26 in Mobile, Alabama, alongside Trace McSorley.
Oruwariye discussed Kentucky’s talented skill position players during Penn State’s bowl media day a few weeks ago at Beaver Stadium, singling out running back Benny Snell Jr. and wide receiver Lynn Bowden Jr.
“They’re impressive,” Oruwariye said. “Snell is doing a tremendous job this season. Bowden’s explosive. He’s a guy who pops out on film. He’s dangerous with the ball in his hands, so we’ve definitely got to look out for him.”
Oruwariye started all 12 games for the Nittany Lions this fall, further solidifying himself as one of the conference’s best cornerbacks. He has 105 career tackles and currently leads Penn State’s defense with 12 pass breakups this season.
“Since my freshman year, I’ve just grown in confidence,” Oruwariye said. “I’ve learned how to watch film better and trust my training and my technique. Overall, I’ve just grown as a player and grown as a leader on the team.”
Surprisingly, Penn State has never had a corner selected in the first round of the NFL draft, but Oruwariye could be the one to finally change that.
“We haven’t had a first-rounder,” cornerbacks coach Terry Smith said. “God willing, obviously it would be a blessing for Amani and his family. It would be a blessing for us as Penn State.”
Oruwariye will likely be matched up often with Bowden, Kentucky’s best receiver, Saturday at Camping World Stadium — something the shutdown corner has grown to enjoy about his role on the perimeter of Penn State’s defense.
“I thrive on that,” Oruwariye said. “I love going against whoever the top receiver is and giving them a long day.”
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“I believe we can do it. I believe we have the depth. Thirteen women in there got to believe it.”
“I’m really glad I did it, and I’m really glad I listened to my sister for once.”
Hicks has scored double-digit points in the past seven games.