Blairstown (NJ) Blair Academy defensive end David Ojabo committed to Michigan on Monday. He picked the Wolverines over offers from Clemson, Ohio State, Penn State, and Texas A&M, among others.
Ojabo is a 6’4″, 233 lb. prospect. He claims a 4.75 forty and ran a 10.93 in the 100. As a junior in 2017, he posted 35 tackles, 6 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles.
ESPN: 4-star, 80 grade, #37 DE
Rivals: 3-star, #41 SDE
247 Sports: 3-star, 87 grade, #36 SDE, #537 overall
Hit the jump for more on his recruitment.
Ojabo was born in Nigeria, where people don’t play American football. When he was about eight years old, he moved to Scotland, where people don’t play American football. Then he moved to New Jersey as a teenager, where people play American football. But not him – he played basketball after growing up as a soccer player. It wasn’t until his junior year when he finally took up the game of football, because he was 6’4″ and 233 lbs., which is power forward weight with shooting guard height – and neither of those positions plays on a soccer pitch. Michigan was one of those schools to throw its hat in the ring, and Ojabo committed after camping in Ann Arbor in June.
I mean this in the nicest way possible: Ojabo knows very little about the game of football. In some ways, that’s a good thing because he’s a blank canvas. Greg Mattison and Don Brown will have a chance to mold him into what kind of football player they want him to be. When I was watching Ojabo’s film for the first time shortly after he was offered, I was reminded of the story of Ezekiel Ansah, who walked on to BYU’s football team without having played the game before and made his mark on the kickoff team because basically your rule is “See ball, get ball.” Ojabo’s stance, pad level, hand placement, tackling, and other areas of technique are all subpar compared to other players who are comparably ranked.
What Ojabo does have is a very particular set of skills: He is skilled at being big and fast. He also takes good angles, because those are important in soccer and basketball, too.
Overall, Ojabo is a huge project. His technique is at a middle school level, but his athleticism is on par with some of the top defensive line recruits in the country. How quickly can Mattison and Brown help him bridge that gap? Those are two of the best defensive coaches in the country, so my guess is they’ll do it approximately as quickly as humanly possible. They took walk-on Ryan Glasgow and made him a 4th round pick, and they have performed other wondrous feats, too. These are very similar things to what I said when German-born Julius Welschof committed to Michigan in the 2018 class, too.
On a side note, Ojabo is not the only one at Blair Academy who looks to be brand new at playing football. I saw a lot of questionable football playing on those clips. I’m not sure about the pedigree of the general populace, but the other schools they play have produced a fair amount of talent, such as Peddie (Allan Walters, a QB who went to Vanderbilt), the Hun School (Anthony Lalota, DT, Michigan/Rutgers), and Lawrenceville (Grant Newsome, OT, Michigan). Blair itself produced Jayson Oweh (DE, Penn State) in the 2018 class. There’s athletic talent in that conference, but it’s not often you see so many guys who have no idea how to play.
This would be the first player to come from Blair Academy to Michigan. Some of Blair’s noteworthy alumni are . . . noteworthy. Like Tucker Max! See also: Dion Lewis, Luol Deng, Charlie Villanueva. There are a bunch of other famous people, too. It costs $60,000 a year to go there. Yikes.
Michigan now has five defensive linemen in the class, including Ojabo, Stephen Herron, Gabe Newburg, Chris Hinton, and Mazi Smith. Ojabo is listed as a strongside end, but I could see him growing into a defensive tackle someday. Smith is an interior guy all the way, and Herron/Newburg are outside guys, so Ojabo and Hinton are the two guys who could swing from the strong side to 3-tech (or offensive line in Hinton’s case).
TTB Rating: 77 (ratings explanation)
You need to login in order to vote