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Jimmy Smith's Mentoring 'Little Brother' Ayodeji Olatoye

Posted Jun 29, 2014

Rookie free agent cornerback Ayodeji Olatoye and Jimmy Smith played together at Colorado.

It’s not uncommon for cornerback Jimmy Smith to come home and find a Ravens undrafted rookie eating out of his refrigerator.

That rookie is fellow cornerback Ayodeji Olatoye.

“He’s like my little brother – a steal-my-clothes-and-wear-them-in-front-of-me-type little brother,” Smith said with a laugh. “Since the day he came in, he’s been under my wing.”

Smith doesn’t mean since the day Olatoye joined the Ravens. He means since the day Olatoye came on a recruiting visit to Colorado back in 2009.

Now Smith is trying to help his little brother make the Ravens squad. And Olatoye is making a good case thus far.

“He’s long, he’s fast, he’s athletic and he has really good ball skills,” Smith said. “He might right now be a little project, but I think he can compete at this level. He’s been making some plays out here.”

Olatoye prepped in Ohio and went to Colorado, where he could follow in Smith’s footsteps. Olatoye is built in the same mold as Smith, both being long, press cornerbacks. Olatoye is 6-foot-1, 194 pounds. Smith is 6-2, 209.

When Olatoye went on his recruiting visit to the Buffalos, he “gravitated towards” Smith immediately. During his entire freshman year, Olatoye stayed at Smith’s house. The two played some on the field together, as Olatoye became a starting safety at one point.

But turmoil hit the Colorado program and Head Coach Dan Hawkins was fired in November of 2010. Smith was just finishing his senior year and was soon to be drafted No. 27 overall by the Ravens. Olatoye had to stay behind for the fallout.

Colorado brought in Head Coach Jon Embree and Olatoye fell out of favor, as did other players from the old regime. Olatoye ended up transferring to North Carolina A&T, where he had a connection with a former teammate and felt he could get some playing time.

The move paid off. Olatoye started all 10 games as a junior, then anchored a stifling defense as a senior with 39 tackles, two interceptions and 11 pass deflections.

“At the end of the day, it was in my best interest,” Olatoye said of the move. “I wanted to get some film out there.”

Olatoye did enough to catch the Ravens’ attention. After not being drafted, he signed with Baltimore to reunite with Smith and because there was a need at cornerback.

There’s plenty of competition now, however. The Ravens signed four other undrafted defensive backs. They’ve since cut two (Dexter Moody and Avery Patterson), but signed two veteran cornerbacks in Dominique Franks and Aaron Ross.

Olatoye has stood out from the group thus far.

He’s got long arms and good closing speed, which results in him getting his hands on more passes than most rookies. He came up with an interception during last Wednesday’s practice. Still, Olatoye knows he’ll have to make his greatest impression on special teams if he’s going to make the team.

But he’s got a friend in his corner. Like in their college days, Olatoye has been crashing at Smith’s house on weekends, picking his brain as much as possible.

“Jimmy’s on the rise, so I’ve been trying to take any tips I can off him,” Olatoye said. “He’s been a big help to me.”

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