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Joseph Jonah-Ajonye Player Evaluation

Alec Smith

Joseph Jonah-Ajonye is a 4* DL in the 2024 recruiting class who plays at Oak Ridge in Conroe, Texas. The recruiting industry has Joseph ranked as the #37 player in the country, the #6 DL, and the #10 player in Texas.

·         Class – Rising Senior

·         Jersey # - 99

·         HT/WT – 6’4” 275 lbs.

Joseph was born in Nigeria where he lived up until 2015, and he did not begin playing football until his freshman year of high school. After playing football for only three years, Joseph turned himself into a top 50 player in the country and earned First-Team All-District honors in 2022 as a junior. He is also a multi-sport athlete who throws shot-put for the Oak Ridge track team.

Jonah-Ajonye is simply put… a large and scary human being on the defensive line. His nickname on social media is “The Nigerian Nightmare” and I would say that is accurate to his on-field play. JJA has a very high motor and shows off his hustle more than once in his clips. Coming in at 6’4” and 275 pounds, Joseph has the versatility to play defensive end and defensive tackle. That is a trait that has become a trademark for Kirby Smart’s defensive lineman. A lengthy frame and large wingspan make JJA lethal in the pass rush, as he regularly gets to the QB in his junior year highlights. He plays with great anticipation and vision and seems to know where the ball is headed right at the snap. JJA is very strong in the weight room with a bench press of 365, a squat of 545, and a clean of 335. All of that power shows itself in how he is able to engage and shuck offensive lineman in his way. This is a player who has tremendous upside and could play early and often in 2024 after Georgia loses experience in the DL room this offseason. 

Having only played three seasons of football, it could be expected that JJA is not a fully refined player. He is also on the younger side for 2024 recruits and technically could have classified in the class of 2025. JJA is lacking in finesse pass rush moves and often leans on his strength/bull rush abilities to get into the backfield. He does not possess insane straight-line speed, but he more than makes up for it with quick changes of direction and hustle. Calling a player a “project” seems derogatory in some instances so I tend to stay away from that term, but I cannot wait to see how UGA’s defensive staff develops this guy. I believe JJA has a first-round draft pick type of ceiling, especially playing for/ learning from Kirby Smart and Tray Scott.

· Joseph Jonah-Ajonye Player Comp. - Travon Walker. Both sit right at ~ 6’5” 270 and are expected to play the 3, 5, and 7 techniques. Travon Walker was a better natural athlete coming into Georgia, but both players possessed tremendous upside and play a position that is valuable in early rounds of the NFL Draft. Maybe we will hear the Nigerian Nightmare’s name called as the #1 pick in a few years.


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