My Lone Article For No Line No Shine
I was supposed to write for No Line No Shine and it fell through.
About three months back, I reached out to No Line No Shine after they posted on Instagram looking for people to write articles for their website. After messaging back and forth, I was given a player to reach out to and get quotes from for an interview.
Fast forward a few weeks later, the website never really got back off the ground and I was essentially ghosted. I wrote what I thought was a fairly decent article and it never got published so here is the article that’s been sitting on my laptop home screen for the past two months.
Alex Akingbulu is a 6’5, 290 pound monster of an offensive tackle. Akingbulu is heading into his senior season with the Fresno State Bulldogs after transferring too Fresno back in 2019.
Akingbulu has stayed put in the Golden State for his football career. He was listed as a three star prospect by ESPN and was the fifty ninth rated recruit in the state of California. When I talked with Alex, he said that his recruitment to UCLA was a very interesting experience.
“Being able to talk to so many different coaches and visit different colleges was a blessing and really opened my eyes. First offer was Michigan and the rest came rolling in. I chose UCLA because of the academic and athletic balance the school offered. And the fact I am from LA did not hurt as well.”
As a Bruin, Alex was plagued with the injury bug and never saw the field in two seasons, 2016 and 2017. In 2017, Akingbulu tore his ACL but that never hindered his academics .He was twice named to the Athletic Director’s Academic Honor Roll, once in the Fall of 2016 and the second time in the Winter of 2017.
Alex said that his torn ACL was “honestly a blessing in disguise” and says that “It taught me patience and perseverance. Instead of feeling sorry for myself I had to attack the injury head on and not be afraid of pain and work.”
Following the 2017 season when he was forced to sit out and rehab his knee, Alex entered the transfer portal and in 2019 became a member of the Fresno State
Bulldogs football team. He stated that part of the reason he chose Fresno was because of the coaching changes that the UCLA program was going through.
At the end of the 2017 season, the Bruins cut ties with Jim Mora who was the head coach from 2012 to 2017 and brought in offensive specialist Chip Kelly who has been at the helm of the Bruins football team since 2018. Kelly currently holds a 7-18 record at UCLA.
In addition to the coaching change, Alex stated Fresno State offered him a better opportunity on the gridiron and that the conversations that he had with the Bulldogs staff made him know that it was a perfect fit.
Since making the move three hours north to Fresno, Akingbulu has made a sizable impact on the field and in the classroom. In his first season, 2019, as a Bulldog he made seven appearances, three of which were starts against Hawaii, Utah State, and San Diego State. He was also a huge asset on special teams. That same season he was named All Mountain West Academic.
Last year during the Covid season, Alex appeared in two games, one as a starter vs Nevada and the other against Colorado State. He aided in protecting the top offense in the Mountain West and the nation's number five passing offense.
Alex is heading into his final collegiate season this year and when asked about his mindset he said “My mindset is to execute at a high level and in result help my team get wins. My goal is to head to head to take my chance at the NFL after this season so I know I must consistently play at a high level.”
He has NFL aspirations and if the Bulldogs offense can explode the way it did last year and he performs at a high level than his draft stock will shoot through the roof.
As an offensive lineman I have many guys in the league I idolize and try to model my game after. For Akingbulu, he most admires big time tackles like Tyron Smith and Penei Sewell. He said that those two are the ones he watches the most film on. His biggest takeaway from those two maulers is their athleticism and aggressiveness and tries to add that to his game.