Finland-Born Offensive Tackle Olaus Alinen Has Buckeyes in Top Five, Plans to Visit Columbus in Spring

By Garrick Hodge on January 27, 2022 at 11:35 am
Olaus Alinen

Growing up in Finland, Olaus Alinen tried every athletic activity he could at a young age. 

Hockey was the most popular sport in his hometown of Pori, the 10th-largest city in Finland. He also dabbled in soccer and wrestling. But his life changed forever when he was 13 years old.

Youth football was finally offered in his town, and Alinen was all too eager to participate. He grew up hearing about the sport from his father, Klaus, who had a brief stint with the Atlanta Falcons as a practice squad player and also played in NFL Europe. Klaus also was Olaus’ youth football coach. 

One year later, Alinen realized he might have a future in football. Athletically gifted at a young age, Alinen now stands at 6-foot-7 and 315 pounds. From that frame, it’s easy to see why the offensive tackle always played up a division or two in his early football career. At 14 years old, he played on a U17 team. At 15, he played in the U19 league. By 16, he was competing in the U20 division.

“I basically was playing grown men,” Alinen told Eleven Warriors. “I finished that league and had an opportunity to come (to America) and have been chasing a dream since then.” 

This week marks the one-year anniversary of the day Alinen moved from Pori to Windsor, Connecticut, to pursue a college football scholarship. Before he had even played a single down on American soil, Alinen had more than 20 Division I offers. 

“It’s a big thing but I think I was super well-prepared,” Alinen said of the transition. “Back home there’s been such a great support system, the same here. People have taken me in so well in their community. So the tradition has been so much easier than it could have been.” 

Alinen is now one of the most highly-touted offensive tackles in the country. 247Sports’ composite rankings have him rated as the 125th-best player and the 12th-best tackle in the 2023 cycle. After completing his junior football season, the four-star now has around 34 offers, including one from Ohio State. 

His Buckeyes offer came on Dec. 15, and it was one Alinen was grateful to receive. 

“It was something I had been waiting for and something that was meaningful to me because it was a school I had interest in for a long time,” Alinen said. “For that to happen, it was an honor to me and a great feeling. I figure that I’m a player who can play and succeed in premier programs and play for a team that can win games and compete for championships. Ohio State is usually one of those teams, so it sparked my interest.” 

Former Ohio State offensive line coach Greg Studrawa was Alinen’s main recruiter initially, but because he just offered Alinen in December, Studrawa’s departure earlier this month wasn’t as big of a shock to the system as it was for other offensive line targets. Alinen’s interest in Ohio State had always been to the program itself, anyway. But newly hired offensive line coach Justin Frye has hit the ground running recruiting Alinen. 

Frye has had two phone conversations with Alinen and attended his basketball practice in person on Jan. 17.  

“I’ve been very fortunate to meet and talk with coach Frye already,” Alinen said. “I think he’s a good guy. We’ve been talking about his philosophy about recruiting. His main thing is how he’s been saying how he operates with recruiting. We’ve also been getting to know each other, what’s his background and what’s my background. We talk a little bit about Ohio State and about football.” 

Frye also gave Alinen tips on how to improve as an offensive lineman. 

“He was talking about focusing on getting more explosion and being able to move well,” Alinen said. “He told me I moved well, but there’s always room to improve. He also said to use my hips more aggressively and use my hips more when I run is one thing that he said to do.” 

Ohio State is making quite the impression on Alinen, who said the Buckeyes are currently in his top five schools at the moment. Other top schools he’s considering include Alabama, Stanford, Miami, USC, Penn State, Florida, Virginia and Texas. The next step in Alinen’s recruitment as far as Ohio State is concerned is a visit to Columbus, which likely will come in the spring. 

“I hope to visit during spring break at some point,” Alinen said. “I really hope I can make it happen. That’s the first step for visiting Ohio State for me.” 

As of now, Alinen said he doesn’t have a commitment timeline, but plans to take his official visits in June and July. 

“If something really resonates with me, and I feel good about some place, I might as well commit before the season. But if not, I’ll keep looking and keep my options open. I want to go somewhere where I can get developed as a person and a player as well. Everywhere is going to have good football and good coaches, it comes down to where I want to be the most. Which I see as the best place for my future and what’s the place where I’m going to enjoy being the next few years.”

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