The Archbishop Stepinac High School Senior from Harlem, Ajani James Cornelius (known to his friends and family as AJ), announced he would be attending the University of Rhode Island during a signing ceremony Wednesday, February 5th. Standing 6’5 and tipping the scale at 315 pounds, there was never a second during the past three years where the magnitude of his performance failed to match the scope of his stature. A Goliath among Davids from his spot at Offensive Tackle/Guard, Cornelius has been an integral and priceless cog in a machine that has scored 1,193 points, rushed for 7,274 yards, passed for an additional 7,057 yards, while accounting for 152 touchdowns from 2017-2019. During this stretch, the Stepinac Crusaders won two NYCHFL AAA titles, as well as back-to-back state titles (CHSAA).
In addition, Cornelius has earned the following accolades:
- 2019 CHSFL Lineman of the Year (NYS)
- 2019 Joe Riverso Lineman of the Year (Stepinac)
- 1st Team ALL-STATE
- Lohud 1st Team All-Star
- NY HSFB (High School Football) 1st Team OL
- 2019 FuturePhenom’s Best O-lineman
- Team Captain
Academically, Cornelius holds a 3.1 GPA and an 1190 SAT score. He earned full scholarship offers from seven different NCAA Division I programs (Lafayette, Morgan State, Howard, Bryant, Hampton, Delaware State, and Rhode Island). On Wednesday, February 5th, Cornelius signed his National Letter of Intent to the University of Rhode Island.
“I knew with my talents if I put in the hard work eventually everything would come,” said Cornelius, who was named the CHSFL’s ‘AAA’ Lineman of the Year last fall. “The most important thing for me was being patient and just waiting for my time. When it came, I was able to go to a place that felt like home.”
Outside of the NCAA’s Early Signing Day in December, Wednesday, February 5th marked the first-day college football recruits could sign with their new programs. Ajani announced earlier he had committed to Rhode Island, and he made his decision official on National Signing Day.
Check out this exclusive interview. On Sunday, February 9th, AJ Cornelius stopped by People Before Politics Radio Show to talk about his high school career, influences on and off the field, his dedication traveling every day from Harlem to White Plains and taking his talents to the University of Rhode Island (URI) in the fall.