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Counting Down the Lions: #20

Submitted by on August 25, 2009No Comment

In joining Charlie’s Top PSU moments, we’ve added another daily countdown feature here at quebecpenspinning. We’ll be measuring up the 50 most important players to Penn State’s success in the 2009 season. You may have noticed that we’ve slacked off a little lately, but expect a few double doses of Counting Down the Lions until we’re all caught up.

Checking in at #20 is a defensive tackle who should be starting right next to Jared Odrick on opening day: Ollie Ogbu.

Number: 85
Position: Defensive Tackle
Class: Redshirt Junior
Height: 6′2
Weight: 285
Hometown: Staten Island, N.Y.
How’d He Get Here: Though we can all fawn at the 5-star and elite talent a school is able to recruit, the real measure of a coaching staff is in identifying the under-the-radar players, who don’t receive much national attention, and blossom once in college, making the other 119 Division-I FBS schools wonder what they were thinking.  Suffice it to say, Ogbu was one of these such players.  Coming out of the typically barren recruiting grounds of New York City, Ogbu was noticed by Brian Norwood, who saw something he liked in the big defensive tackle, and gave him an offer to Penn State, the only D-1 offer Ogbu held, according to Scout and Rivals, neither of whom even evaluated Ogbu as a prospect.  After taking a year at Milford Academy, Ogbu came to Happy Valley, and made an impact as soon as he got on the field.
2008 Results: Ogbu had a phenomenal 2007 season, in which he accumulated 18 tackles (10 for a loss), and was named to the Sporting News All-Freshman team.  However, Ogbu took a small step back in 2008, as even with the departures of Chris Baker and Phil Taylor, Penn State was absolutely stacked at defensive tackle.  Still, Ogbu tallied his first 2 collegiate sacks, and started 9 games for the Lions in 2008, though he only made 4.5 tackles for loss and compiled just 17 tackles, as he rotated through for playing time with Jared Odrick, Abe Koroma, Chima Okoli, Tom McEowen and others at the crowded DT position.
What to Expect in 2009: Abe Koroma became the latest Nittany Lion to leave the program, trading in the blue and white of Penn State for the purple and gold of Western Illinois.  If there was any question as to who would be lined up next to Jared Odrick come September 5th, that answers it.  It’ll be Ollie Ogbu getting the start.  Now, Jared Odrick had an incredible season last year, making a name for himself as one of the premier tackles in the NCAA.  It’s good for Odrick, but perhaps even better for the rest of the linemen, who will find themselves lined up against just one offensive linemen.  Look for Ogbu to break out in a big way in 2009, solidifying his place as one of the better tackles in the Big Ten.
Random Facts: Olong O. Ogbu is quite the pickup artist, according to an article in the Daily Collegian.  His fraternity, Iota Phi Theta, held an event educating men on how to approach women, and Ogbu took the lead in the demonstration.

Ollie Ogbu (junior-sociology and criminal justice) began the discussion by acting out an example of the different ways to approach women. He first showed the “wrong” way to approach a woman, and then followed it with the “correct” way.

“Hello, ma’am, how are you? Would you like to maybe go out to dinner sometime?” he asked his female volunteer in the example.

Chanell Autrey agreed that more men should use Ogbu’s proper approach.

“Intelligence, well-spoken, confidence. That’s what we want — a goal-oriented guy,” said Autrey (senior-political science and French). “That chivalry stuff, it’s not there anymore.”

“Some dudes’ fears are that they’re afraid to be nice, you know,” Ogbu said to his audience. “They feel like they have to turn on that swagger to get a girl.” The Final Word: The defensive line seems to always be a position of strength at Penn State and 2009 should be no different. Though losses of the top 3 defensive ends from a year ago threaten sack totals, especially considering two of those who left were All-Americans with double digit sack seasons, the interior of the line will more than do its job, both in pressuring the quarterback and in stuffing the run. Ogbu will be a key piece of that puzzle, starting and playing as much as anyone. Another wrinkle that Penn State could use would be employing a 3-4 defense, and Ogbu certainly has the size and motor to work at defensive end in that scenario.  No matter what scheme, look for Ogbu to have a season that could rival, or eclipse, his 2007 campaign, as he is firmly entrenched as a starter for the first time in his career.

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