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‘O-JA-BO’: David Ojabo will be remembered for sacking painful era of Michigan football

Michigan’s star edge rusher declares for 2022 NFL draft

David Ojabo #55 of the Michigan Wolverines celebrates after recording a sack against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the first half at Beaver Stadium on November 13, 2021 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Scott Taetsch, 2021 Getty Images)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – “O-JA-BO!”

The voice of Detroit native Gus Johnson proved the perfect soundtrack to a seminal moment in Michigan football history.

When edge rusher David Ojabo blew past an offensive tackle and sacked C.J. Stroud in the final minute of Michigan’s victory over Ohio State, he cemented himself in Maize and Blue lore.

It felt long before that moment like Michigan was going to beat Ohio State on that snowy Saturday afternoon, but Ojabo’s sack, and the ensuing fourth down stop, sealed it.

Ojabo not only notched his 11th sack of the season, he also helped a program starving for this exact win to finally get over the hump. It was Michigan’s first victory over the Buckeyes in a decade, and vaulted the team to its first Big Ten championship in nearly twice as long.

On Tuesday (Jan. 4), Ojabo announced he will forego his remaining college eligibility and enter the 2022 NFL draft. The Scotland native didn’t step on the football field until midway through his time at Blair Academy in New Jersey, but now, only a few years later, he’s ready to compete with the best of the best.

Ojabo came into the season with just one tackle in six career games played, but burst onto the scene as a pass rushing force opposite Heisman Trophy runner-up Aidan Hutchinson. In 14 games, Ojabo made 35 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 11 sacks while batting down three passes and forcing five fumbles.

Ojabo’s heroics extended well beyond the Ohio State game. His tackle and forced fumble in the waning moments against Rutgers helped Michigan escape a 20-13 scare back in September. Without that win, the Wolverines certainly wouldn’t have been in the discussion for a College Football Playoff appearance.

The very next week, Ojabo recorded a career-high 2.5 sacks in an upset win at Wisconsin. He also had two sacks apiece against Michigan State and Penn State, for a grand total of 6.5 sacks in the team’s three biggest road games.

But, in part thanks to Johnson’s epic call, and even more so because of what the play symbolized, Ojabo will always be remembered for that final sack against Ohio State. It was his version of the Trey Burke shot against Kansas, the Jordan Poole buzzer beater vs. Houston, the Mario Manningham catch to beat Penn State.

Nobody who follows Michigan football will forget that moment, and when Ojabo’s name gets called by Roger Goodell on April 28, the Gus Johnson version will echo through living rooms across the country: “O-JA-BO!”

Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) and linebacker David Ojabo (55) reaft after an NCAA college football game against Maryland, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in College Park, Md. Michigan won 59-18. (The Associated Press 2021)

About the Author:

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.