Skip to main content

Saturday Is Significant For Michigan's David Ojabo

His meteoric rise came as a surprise to most within the college football world, and now his commitment to succeed is about to pay off in a very big way.

The very fact that the Michigan Wolverines are standing at the doorstep of a trip to Indy and a possible spot in the College Football Playoff is shocking to many. After all, most within the Michigan fan base - and media market - believed that the Wolverines were destined for eight wins or less and another third place finish in the Big Ten East.

As it turns out, Michigan had other plans. Not only can the Wolverines capture their 11th win of the season on Saturday, they can also capture the Big Ten East title and a spot in the Big Ten Championship game.

A big part of Michigan's success has been the emergence of several seasoned Wolverines who've successfully made the transition from "contributor" to "starring role". At the top of that list - unquestionably - is junior linebacker David Ojabo. 

Prior to the 2021 season, Ojabo had played in just six total games over the course of his first two seasons in Ann Arbor - with all six coming during the shortened 2020 season. Ojabo mostly cut his teeth on special teams in 2020, though he did see limited action at the linebacker position in three games. Based on his time spent within the program and his experience on the field, it didn't come as much of a surprise when Ojabo earned a starting role on the 2021 Michigan defense.

However, what did come as a surprise - and a pleasant one at that - was Ojabo's meteoric rise to becoming one of the top NFL prospects in all of college football. In fact, Ojabo was recently listed as a potential Top 10 pick in ESPN's latest 2022 NFL Mock Draft.

In addition to shooting up mock draft boards, Ojabo's freakish athleticism, power and technique have helped him reach 10 sacks on the season - just two sacks away from tying the UM single-season record of 12. 

Reflecting on his early season success in 2021, the former four-star recruit out of Blair Academy (NJ) admitted that he was a work-in-progress when he first arrived in Ann Arbor.

"I was an F minus," said Ojabo. "The only thing that saved me was my speed and my twitch. I could get off blocks just based on speed. But technique, weight - even that mindset for contact - I was not there, as you would expect." 

Read More

Though he was a raw talent, the folks in Ann Arbor clearly saw something special in 6-5, 250-pound prospect. Ojabo would earn his way by spending his freshman season at Michigan as part of the scout team - something he views as crucial to his development at the UM.

"I won't even lie, that was the biggest blessing in my life. Just realizing, 'Oh, I'm going to be on the scout team. Oh, I need to get better. Oh, I'm actually going against five NFL linemen.' So, looking back on that - it was the biggest blessing in my life. Just really honing in on the scout team and getting better so that I can actually play."

Admittedly, Ojabo had his doubts about whether or not he could succeed at this level. At the same time, failure was not an option for the freak-athlete who had come so far.

"Yea, it creeped into my mind. But then I thought to myself, 'I didn't come all the way from Scotland just to go back.' Something had to happen. I already made it to Michigan - that's a plus. But I couldn't just sit there, I didn't come here to sit. I was determined to get better and make moves. That year I ended up winning scout team player of the year because I dedicated myself to getting better. I'm glad they noticed that."

Not only did the coaching staff at Michigan take notice of David Ojabo, the entire football universe is now taking notice of David Ojabo - meaning he could very well be playing his final game in Michigan Stadium this weekend. 

With a shot at notching the single-season sack record, beating Ohio State and punching a ticket to Indy, it's hard to imagine how Saturday could become any more meaningful for Ojabo on an individual level than it already is. 

As it turns out, it did become quite a bit more meaningful and for all the right reasons. Saturday will mark the first time in his Collegiate Career that both of his parents will be in the stands inside of the Big House to watch their son compete. During the player press conference this week, Ojabo says he's already preparing his mother for the in-person experience.

“(Mom)'s gotta know it’s different seeing it in the flesh. You’re going to hear the pads popping and the fans chirping. She’s gotta keep her cool and know her son’s okay.”

Coverage for Saturday’s game between Michigan and Ohio State begins at 12:00 pm ET on FOX.