Discussing politics usually isn't a hot topic of conversation among high school football players even during a presidential election year, but Sickles senior linebacker Adekunle Olusanya doesn't hesitate making his views known about the importance of both politics and football in his life.
"I'm about to turn 18 in September and plan on registering and voting in the presidential election," said Olusanya who was born in Boston the son of Nigerian parents. "I'm interested in politics, but a lot of kids my age don't really follow it. They should follow politics closer and vote."
Olusanya will be a newcomer at the ballot box this election, but he isn't a stranger on the Sickles football field.
"A.K. is the third brother from that family to play here," Sickles coach Brian Turner said. "He started as a ninth grader. A.K. is a captain and leader of our team. Some kids follow certain people and there's something about his character that makes kids want to be around him."
Olusanya was moved from cornerback to linebacker his sophomore year then safety where he had 93 tackles, two interceptions and one fumble recovery last season.
"He is the fastest player and most physical kid on the team; he's fearless," Turner said about Olusanya, who led the Gryphons with 53 solo tackles as a junior. "He just wants to win. He cries when we lose games."
Bowling Green, Ball State and Western Michigan are recruiting Olusanya, and Stanford, the University of South Florida and Miami University have shown interest, as well.
"I'm being recruited as a safety," said Olusanya, who is scheduled to move back to linebacker this season. "I don't think moving to linebacker will affect my recruiting. Being a linebacker will help me because it shows I can make plays.
"Playing in the box gives me a chance to make contact sooner," he added. "You have to have a combination of quickness and speed and be aggressive. You need to be smart and anticipate what's coming."
Olusanya's main sport was soccer until he started playing football in eighth grade. He is a forward on the Sickles soccer team.
"I got a lot of yellow cards in soccer so I switched to football in order to be more physical," the 5-foot-10, 200 pound Olusanya said. "I like football because it brings something out in you. I like the camaraderie and I like being able to legally hit somebody."
Olusanya carries a 5.0 grade-point-average and hopes to be a orthopedic surgeon someday, but playing football is his main emphasis right now.
"Football is a lot of hard work and it's a challenge every day, but I wouldn't be playing if it wasn't fun," he said. "Football players are looked at as kind of leaders in the school and coach Turner is our president."