Football

UCLA DT Otito Ogbonnia joins Chargers after manifestation

11 May 2022 | 08:13

COSTA MESA — UCLA defensive tackle Otito Ogbonnia already knew he was going to the Chargers before they picked him in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL draft Saturday.

The Chargers selected the 6-foot-3, 324-pound Ogbonnia with the 160th overall pick. The four-year UCLA standout has the size and strength to develop into a stout run stopper, something the Chargers need more of after a disappointing season against the run.

Ogbonnia, who played in 43 games with the Bruins, said he enjoyed the vibe from Chargers’ coaches after their productive meeting.

“I always knew I was going to the Chargers ever since I visited them,” Ogbonnia said. “I had a feeling I was going there. I kinda manifested it in a way where I didn’t almost jinx myself, but it ended up happening and I’m forever grateful for it.

“The vibe I got, something just told me, ‘This is the place I can be most successful and the place I needed to be.’ Just being under that staff, being under that defense, somewhere where I can really excel. It kinda went both ways. I think they saw it out of me and I saw it out of them. I knew it was going to be my top destination that I wanted to go to.”

Ogbonnia will join fellow newcomer defensive tackles Sebastian Joseph-Day and Austin Johnson, two veterans the Chargers signed during their drastic defensive makeover in the offseason. The Chargers need run stoppers, but Ogbonnia said the team thought highly of how disruptive he was against the pass in college.

“I think a big thing is my abilities at the point of attack,” said Ogbonnia, a Houston native. “My ability to really knock guys back, get penetration, reset the line of scrimmage, stop the run. Even in the pass, I’m able to push back the pocket and get vertical pressure up the middle. Those are things that they ended up mentioning and those are my strengths.”