The Wolverine

August 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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66 THE WOLVERINE AUGUST 2018   COMMITMENT PROFILE W hat do you call a Nigerian- born former soccer and basket- ball player who grew up in Scotland but recently started playing foot- ball because he runs a 10.93-second 100-meter dash at 6-5, 240 pounds? For sure, you can call him a Michi- gan commit. Blairstown (N.J.) Blair Academy three-star defensive end David Ojabo is one of the most intriguing prospects in the country because of that unique background, and many schools were drawn to his high ceil- ing as an athlete. The rising senior reeled in more than 30 offers after just one year of football because ev- eryone can see the type of potential he is oozing. Michigan impressed him more than Clemson, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Ohio State, among others, and he's now a part of U-M's class. The No. 41 strongside defen- sive end in the country according to found everything he needed in Ann Arbor and pledged to Jim Harbaugh and his staff July 2. "There were many aspects that I liked — I just felt at home all around," Ojabo said. Ojabo brought his mother and fa- ther with him to Ann Arbor, and the whole crew got a great look at what life is like at U-M as a student-athlete. That level of comfort allowed Ojabo to pull the trigger without hesitation. "That's what my parents were there for," Ojabo said when asked about U-M's academics. "Football- wise they check the box, but academ- ics definitely needed to pass the test with my parents and they did." Ojabo also got a chance to spend time with Rashan Gary, a player he only hopes he can be like someday. Gary also hails from New Jersey, so it was good for Ojabo to spend be around another defensive end from the Garden State. "It was an honor meeting Rashan Gary," Ojabo said. "I've been watch- ing his tape a lot, and I've been try- ing to make my game after him. It was good meeting a lot of people." Many schools were pursuing Ojabo aggressively, but none did it as well as Michigan. He narrowed his list to five about a week before announc- ing his decision, and he ultimately chose Michigan over finalists Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Texas A&M. Ojabo joins Norcross (Ga.) Greater Atlanta Christian five-star defensive end Chris Hinton, Louisville (Ky.) Trinity four-star defensive end Ste- phen Herron, Clayton (Ohio) North- mont three-star defensive end Gabe Newburg and Kentwood (Mich.) East Kentwood four-star defensive tackle Mazi Smith in the 2019 class, which gives the Wolverines an in- sanely talented front line for Greg Mattison to mold. Ojabo is one of the more modestly rated prospects among Michigan's defensive line commits, but that's simply because he hasn't been play- ing football long enough. Mid-Atlantic recruit- ing analyst Adam Friedman has seen Ojabo up close and thinks the new Michigan pledge is just scratching the surface. "Ojabo is nowhere near being a finished product, and that's what makes him such an exciting pros- pect," Friedman said. "His raw ath- leticism is pretty unique for a player his size, and he is becoming a more dominant player as he fills out his frame and absorbs more technique. "Right now, Ojabo is mostly a speed rusher, but he is getting stronger and that is helping his inside counter- moves become more effective." Friedman also touched on what it means for Michigan to land a player like Ojabo with such a tremendous upside. "The Wolverines have had a great summer so far and sit at No. 4 in the team rankings [as of July 16]," Fried- man explained. "Ojabo is their fifth commitment on the defensive line and should end up contributing in a meaningful way during his second or third year on campus. "There are a lot of defensive ends in this Michigan class, but Ojabo should stand out as a pure speed rusher with a ton of untapped potential." In his only year of football at Blair Academy, Ojabo recorded 35 tackles, six sacks and two forced fumbles. — Brandon Brown Michigan May Have Hit The Jackpot With David Ojabo FILM EVALUATION Strengths: David Ojabo's biggest strength is definitely his potential. He's 6-5, 240 pounds and has im- pressive speed, but he's only been playing football for a year. He's a lot to handle off the edge because he's big, strong, fast and athletic. Areas Of Improvement: Because he's been playing football for a short time, Ojabo has much to work on technique wise. He's as athletic a player as you'll find, but he lacks refinement in his pass rush moves, hand placement and overall con- cept of how to beat bigger linemen. Michigan Player Comparison: Ojabo is a bigger, faster and more athletic version of Mario Ojemu- dia, the former U-M defensive end whose 2015 senior year was short- ened by an Achilles injury. Ojabo and Ojemudia have similar builds and skill sets at this point in their careers, but Ojabo has only been playing football for a little over a year. His potential is off the charts, and he could end up being better than Ojemudia. — Analysis from In his first year of playing football as a prep junior, Ojabo tallied 35 tackles, six sacks and two forced fumbles at Blairstown (N.J.) Blair Academy. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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