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Olu Fashanu Says the Jets Are a 'Fairytale Destination'

Former Penn State O-Lineman Thrilled About Opportunity to Learn from All-Pro Tyron Smith

Penn State offensive lineman Olumuyiwa Fashanu (74) celebrates a 31-0 win over Iowa during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, in State College, Pa. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)

New Jets tackle Olu Fashanu made a promise to his mom when he committed to Penn State in the summer of 2019 that his degree took precedence to football. Despite receiving first-round evaluations as a junior in 2023, Fashanu returned to school to make good on his promise.

The Jets selected Fashanu with the No. 11 overall pick Thursday night in the draft, and despite being done with a formal education, he is excited to go back to school once more to learn from future Hall of Fame left tackle Tyron Smith and the Jets' experienced group of linemen.

"It really feels like a perfect situation," Fashanu said. "I feel like I am in fairytale. Tyron was my first football inspiration. From the first days I started playing O-Line, he was the first guy I really started watching film on. And for me to get the opportunity to really learn from him and ask him tips questions and advice means the world to me."

Fashanu (6-6, 312) was a four-year player and two-starter for Penn State after redshirting as a freshman and spending his sophomore season as a backup. Over the last two seasons, Fashanu started 20 games and in 681 pass-blocking snaps allowed zero sacks and one QB hit.

During the pre-draft process this spring, Fashanu did his best to remain open to being selected by all the teams he visited with. But after taking a top-30 visit with the Jets, the Green & White were his top choice.

"The feeling is indescribable," Fashanu said. "During this entire process, I wanted to keep it quiet about the team I wanted to go to the most but honestly it has always been the Jets from day one. After getting a chance to go to the combine and meet Coach Saleh and the entire staff and Mr. Douglas and (OL coach Keith) Carter, I knew this was the place I wanted to be. Thankfully, this is the place."

Jets general manager Joe Douglas did a lot of work during free agency to fortify the team's offensive line. In addition to signing an All-Pro LT in Smith, Douglas acquired LG John Simpson and veteran RT Morgan Moses to go along with established pieces in RG Alijah Vera-Tucker and C Joe Tippmann.

With the team's starting five linemen set, Fashanu is looking forward to competing and learning even it means not playing right away.

"I bring a lot of toughness and grit to the offensive line, but I think my best asset is my consistency on the field," Fashanu said. "I never take any plays off and am always giving it my all. I am great in pass protection and in run blocking. I am a great locker room guy as well. I am the type of player that is going to be the same guy all the time. I am going to come in and work my tail off and compete within the program because at the end of the day when you compete, you are not only making yourself better, but everyone else better."

He added: "I was going to go really hard and try and learn from whatever team I got drafted by. But now, being on a the same team as Aaron Rodgers and feeling like we can really compete to win, I feel like I need to go even harder now."

See the best images of the 11th overall selection in the 2024 NFL Draft, OT Olu Fashanu.

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