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2017 NFL Draft Profile: Larry Ogunjobi, Charlotte

Charlotte’s first major NFL draft prospect has an inspiring backstory and a strong repertoire of tools.

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NFL: Combine
Former Charlotte defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi participates in a dummy drill during the 2017 NFL Combine.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Larry Ogunjobi - Defensive Tackle - Charlotte 49ers

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 305

Broad jump: 9’7”

Vertical jump: 32”

Bench press: 26 reps

40 yard dash: 4.97

Measurements and testing results are from the NFL combine.

NCAA Football: Charlotte at Temple Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The son of two Nigerian immigrants, former Charlotte defensive tackle and current NFL draft prospect Larry Ogunjobi is the embodiment of the American dream.

Ogunjobi found football late in his life and used it to save himself from grave health issues, gain an incredible education with double majors in computer science and biology, and will soon use that experience to earn millions of dollars for his family. Before we get to know Ogunjobi at a personal level let’s take a look at his astonishing accomplishments at Charlotte.

Ogunjobi was the first player bestowed the honor to wear Charlotte’s honorary #49 jersey for the program’s inaugural game against Campbell. The 49ers would compete at the FCS level that year and Ogunjobi would feast off the weaker competition in his freshman season, finishing with 42 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 10 QB hurries, two pass breakups, and 2.5 sacks after starting in all 11 games at nose tackle.

In 2014 the 49ers made the jump up to the FBS level to compete in Conference USA. The increase in competition only made Ogunjobi better as he improved on all of his statistics in his sophomore season. While Ogunjobi didn’t earn any all-conference honors in his sophomore season it was a building block for future success as he would earn second team all-conference honors in 2015 and first team all-conference designation in his 2016 senior season. Ogunjobi finished his time in Charlotte as the program’s leader in tackles (217), tackles for loss (49), sacks (13), and QB hurries (33).

Ogunjobi’s fingerprints are all over this Charlotte program. First Senior Bowl invitee, first national award watch list member (Bednarik and Outland), first 49er to start every game of his career. And Ogunjobi is about to earn another major first for the program— first to hear his name called during the NFL Draft.

A former obese young man that was more interested in video games than the gridiron, Ogunjobi embarked on an incredible journey to reshape his body composition, turning himself into a beast on the football field. This must-read profile on Ogunjobi from the Charlotte Observer’s Pat James details the steps Ogunjobi and his parents took to salvage Ogunjobi’s health and find a life-long passion along the way. When watching Ogunjobi fire off the line of scrimmage with a flat back and sculpted arms ripping away would-be blockers it’s hard to imagine Ogunjobi as a 350 pound teenager that couldn’t make it through a mile long jog.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl-North Practice
Larry Ogunjobi engages with a tackling dummy during Senior Bowl practice.
Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

Now Ogunjobi is one of the more athletic defensive tackles in this year’s draft class. While his relative lack of lateral agility prevents him from being an elite pass rusher, Ogunjobi makes up for it with impressive straight line speed that allows for him to chase quarterbacks and running backs to the sideline. This is a strength that Ogunjobi is able to showcase often as he boasts exceptional play recognition. Ogunjobi is skilled at reading blocks from the offensive line, making him a tough defender to catch off guard with a screen pass or reverse.

Ogunjobi’s lower body strength and explosiveness are what have made him a highly-sought after prospect at the next level. With a blazing quick first step, Ogunjobi is almost always the first lineman to step into the neutral zone off the snap. Utilizing sound leverage and quick hands, Ogunjobi is able to disrupt both the run and pass games. He’s a pretty complete player but he’ll likely need to continue gaining weight to become a starter at the NFL level. Ogunjobi could also stand to improve his upper body strength as his game film from the 49ers’ match up against Louisville in 2016 showed Ogunjobi losing a lot of battles once he stood up to engage offensive lineman up top.

I personally put a lot of weight into Pro Football Focus’ scouting reports. They’re very, very high on Ogunjobi, ranking him as the nation’s fourth best defender against the run in 2016. The bottom line on Ogunjobi according to PFF?

The only factor limiting Ogunjobi’s NFL stock is concerns over the level of competition he faced at Charlotte. He dispelled that concern, to some extent, during Senior Bowl week. Ogunjobi showed NFL talent in the drills, ranking amongst the highest-graded players. He is fully capable of holding his ground against multiple blockers, even flashing an ability to make plays against combo blocks. Although he is perceived as one-dimensional, Ogunjobi possesses enough of a pass-rush skillset to be at least a nuisance in that regard at the next level.

Perhaps those close to Ogunjobi aren’t surprised by his rampant success in the least. Born “Olumide” Ogunjobi, Larry’s Nigerian birth name translates to “Our Savior has come.” The immense pride Ogunjobi’s parents must feel for their son is unparalleled but perhaps an NFL franchise seeking a run-stopping presence in the middle of their defense will find their own “Olumide” following this spring’s NFL Draft.