Canadian Amen Ogbongbemiga has been dreaming of playing in the NFL since waking up early and walking in two feet of snow to catch the bus for morning high school football workouts.
The ferocious linebacker moved to Calgary, Alta. in 2011 where he attended Notre Dame High School. Ogbongbemiga’s dedication helped the his team win a third-straight Provincial Tier One Championship as a senior.
Oklahoma State University recruited him and he was eventually offered a scholarship by the Cowboys, teaming up with fellow Albertan Chuba Hubbard to play in the Big 12 Conference. The two players made it a priority to reach the pros while pushing each other to reach the highest level.
“We wanted to be two people from Canada to come to a program and take that next step,” Ogbongbemiga said in a videoconference.
“A lot of people didn’t expect that. A lot of people probably thought we were going to get weeded out, never play, have to come back to Canada to play, but we had different things planned.”
Ogbongbemiga became a stalwart defender for OK State and was voted a team captain while Hubbard developed into an All-American running back. Both young men have drawn the attention of NFL scouts as part of the 2021 NFL Draft class. All 32 NFL teams had at least one representative in Stillwater, Okla. for the program’s pro day.
“My focus was to show my athleticism and my versatility and I excelled. I showed everybody that I’m a mobile athlete and I move and run well,” Ogbongbemiga said.
“I joined the defensive backs and did some DB drills and worked with the linebackers as well, just trying to show my hips, fluidity.”
Ogbongbemiga measured in at six-foot-one and 231 pounds. He ran a 4.66 forty-yard dash, 7.32 three-cone, and 4.28 shuttle, while also posting 24 reps on the bench press, a 32-inch vertical jump, and a nine-foot, four-inch broad jump. He also met with the vast majority of NFL teams regarding his future.
“I’ll do whatever it takes, I’m ready for whatever team. They’re getting a player that’s all in and will do anything to help the team win. I’m dedicated, I’m passionate, and I want to play football,” Ogbongbemiga said.
Those words are backed up by action. During a two-week exam break in high school, Ogbongbemiga quickly found a job at Walmart and worked 40-hour weeks to pay his way to a recruiting camp at Oklahoma State. That do-what-it-takes attitude has Ogbongbemiga on the cusp of achieving his goal.
“I’m just hoping a team takes a chance on me earlier than I expect, that’ll be a blessing,” Ogbongbemiga said.
NFL scouts feel Ogbongbemiga has a chance to be picked late in the NFL Draft. One talent evaluator called him an intriguing kid with a strong work ethic and high character. Ogbongbemiga is trying to become the first Canadian linebacker drafted into the NFL since 1995 when Phil Yeboah-Kodie was picked by the Denver Broncos in the fifth round.
“Whatever team drafts me, just know that you’re getting a player that’s all in, no matter what it takes,” Ogbongbemiga said.
“You can’t get too caught up in mock drafts and reading about yourself because that could put you high, that could put you low — you have to stay level-headed.”