He was one of the biggest names in CFL free agency this year, and not just because his surname is five syllables long.
Folarin Orimalade, Flo to his teammates, became a Toronto Argonaut on February 14. The defensive end brings an exciting combination of speed, power and savvy to an already stacked front seven.
“He is probably one of the most disruptive defensive linemen in the league, if not the most disruptive d-lineman,” said Corey Mace, who is not only the Argos defensive coordinator, but is Orimolade’s positional coach as well. “The first thing you think about with Flo is his professionalism. He’s a professional in how he approaches everything he does.”
That shouldn’t surprise anyone, given his educational background. Orimolade graduated from Dartmouth after dominating the Ivy League; twice named to that conference’s First Team, as well as being selected as its Defensive Player of the Year in his senior season.
Now in Toronto after four seasons in Calgary, he’s healthy and ready to accept a new challenge as one of the main components of the Double Blue defence.
“I’m in a different position where I have more responsibility,” Orimolade told Argonauts.ca after Monday’s practice. “You always prepare for yourself, but you try to prepare for the group as well; trying to think about what can make us all successful together. I had that responsibility in Calgary, just more in this situation.”
He will undoubtedly be in the spotlight in Toronto after signing a lucrative deal to come east. There’s no need for him to become the guy with the Argos, but there is pressure on him to perform well.
“I think people may say that it’s pressure, but I don’t really call it pressure. I think it’s a privilege to be in that position. When you have such a high privilege it’s a great responsibility to step up to the plate and that’s what I wanted. When someone gives you a contract like that, they believe in you.”
Mace, who was Orimolade’s positional coach in Calgary, certainly believes in him.
“He’s extremely explosive, quick twitch, he’s extremely strong as well,” said the coach of the player. “He’s got a little bit of everything to keep offensive linemen honest.”
That was on display last season when the Washington D.C. native was a force to be reckoned with. While his mainstream stats are not eye popping – 37 tackles and 6 sacks in ‘22 – his quarterback pressure and QB hurry numbers would have been near, or atop the CFL.
Argonauts.ca was relieved when Orimolade was willing to talk about the high number of near misses he had in terms of sacks, and how he can improve upon those numbers by finishing off QBs instead of simply making them rush their throws.
“I can do a better job turning the corner and redirecting back to the quarterback and going for the ball a little bit more,” he explained. “And adding a little better timing of my rushes. It’s kind of a feel thing, but it’s also a film thing where you know which rushes to do in which situations.”
In an attempt to have fans get to know the newcomer a bit better, Argonauts.ca asked the defensive end a couple of questions about life away from football.
He says he loves to learn, is passionate about the world of finance, and reads a lot of non-fiction, pointing to Malcolm Gladwell as his favourite author.
Orimolade also loves to travel, pointing to two diametrically opposed landscapes as his favourite destinations.
“Two different types of trips, but I would say Columbia and Iceland. In Iceland you see things that you have never seen, like a fantasy; volcanos, the landscape is crazy. Columbia was the best food I’ve ever had. It’s always warm and it’s an electric vibe.”
The Argos are hoping the world traveler can lead them to their preferred destination; a return to the Grey Cup final on November 19 in Hamilton.
The team announced early Monday morning that receiver Dontrelle Inman was retiring. A member of the 2012 Grey Cup champions, Inman spent seven seasons in the NFL, then two years away from football before reporting to camp over the weekend. He did not look out of place during Sunday’s practice session but decided to return home to California…After missing the first day of camp, new defensive back Parnell Motley was a full participant on Monday…If the first couple of days are any indication, prepare to hear the phrase “Kelly to Daniels” quite often. Quarterback Chad Kelly is developing quite a chemistry with receiver DaVaris Daniels, who set a career high last season with 61 catches, adding seven more in the Grey Cup win…The defence has a slight edge over the offensive in today’s non-contact scrimmage…The players will be in pads for the first time on Tuesday…It would be fair to say the defensive secondary is a work in progress as Defensive Backs Coach Josh Bell is moving players in and out of different positions. One combination that worked nicely was playing Robertson Daniel at halfback in tandem with Robert Priester on the corner…The speed of the defensive line was evident in one-on-one drills, with Flo Orimolade, Robbie Smith and Thomas Costigan all showing off their quickness…Tuesday’s schedule includes light activity 9:00-9:35, followed by practice from 9:45-12:45. Practices are open to the public and held at Alumni Stadium at the University of Guelph.