It’s finally August! Now I don’t know about you, but August just feels like a football month. Technically, some real, true college football kicks off this month, but the Oklahoma Sooners don’t get the 2018 party started until the first of September.
Still, according to our ongoing Countdown to Kickoff, that’s only 31 days away! What better way to celebrate that than by taking a look back on Oklahoma’s most recent sack artist: No. 31 Ogbonnia Okoronkwo.
Ogbo Okoronkwo’s Sooner career began in 2013. After redshirting that season, Ogbo saw action in 11 of Oklahoma’s 13 games in 2014, and recorded his first sack against the Texas Longhorns. The talented edge rusher showed flashes of greatness all season long, so it was just a matter of putting it all together.
Before he suited up for Oklahoma, Ogbo was an Alief Taylor HS (Houston) standout, and his strengths have always been in his quickness and raw athleticism. At 6’1” and 240 pounds, the man could get up field in a hurry. If left one-on-one against an offensive tackle, more often than not, Ogbo won that battle. Pressuring the QB was his specialty, and for years he did it better than anybody else at Oklahoma.
Okoronkwo didn’t receive his first career start until his junior season in 2016, when he became a full-time starter. Over the course of his junior and senior seasons, Okoronkwo started in 26 games, recording 164 total tackles, 29.5 tackles-for-loss, 17.0 sacks, five forced fumbles and five pass breakups. The man was not only all over the field, he also lived in his opponents’ nightmares.
As a senior in 2017, Ogbo was named a Walter Camp First-Team All American, as well as a Second-Team All-American by the AP, the FWAA and Sporting News. Okoronkwo was also named co-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year for his outstanding senior campaign. Today, Ogbo’s 21 sacks ranks second in program history for sacks by a linebacker.
In the 2018 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams selected Ogbonnia Okoronkwo with the 160th overall pick in the fifth round. These days, Ogbo may don the Rams’ blue and gold in L.A., but he’ll forever bleed that Oklahoma Crimson & Cream.
There’s certainly plenty of reason for optimism as far as the future of the JACK position is concerned, but make no mistake — Ogbo will be greatly missed.
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