The defensive end, BJ Ojulari, who came to LSU in 2020 joined the “fraternity” of the No. 18 at Saturday’s practice by Coach Brian Kelly gave him his new jersey following the third day of preseason drills.
Ojulari, a preseason All-America candidate who has represented the LSU football program at a NCAA Leadership Symposium as well as participating in numerous community service events.
Coach Kelly chose Ojulari by the extraordinary manner of his leadership skills in his past two seasons and the offseason of this past year on the team. The junior shows attention to detail, great focus, represents the program in a positive way in the classroom, in the community, and on the field including his representation of the program at the 2022 SEC Media Days in Atlanta.
“His teammates, coaches and the entire staff believe BJ Ojulari embodies what the number 18 represents. He carries our traits of excellence every day on and off the field.”
Ojulari, a junior from Marietta, Georgia, joins an elite list of former Tigers who have had the honor of wearing the number. Most recently, linebacker Damone Clark and kicker Avery Atkins wore No. 18 for the Tigers in 2021.
Entering his second season as s starter for LSU in 2022, Ojulari has twice earned SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week honors during his career. He’s recorded 71 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks in his previous two seasons with the Tigers.
LSU’s tradition of No. 18 began in 2003 when quarterback Matt Mauck guided the Tigers to their first national championship since 1958. Mauck, now a dentist in Denver, passed his number down to running back Jacob Hester, who went on to lead the Tigers to the 2007 national title.
It was the outstanding traits, both on and off the field, of Mauck and Hester that resulted in No. 18 becoming the number worn by the Tiger who best epitomizes what it means to be an LSU football player.
The No. 18 LSU jersey hangs in the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.