'Tough to see': Wolverines pass rusher David Ojabo injured during Michigan's Pro Day

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — Michigan pass rusher David Ojabo, projected a first-round pick in next month’s NFL Draft, suffered an undisclosed injury Friday during Pro Day at Michigan. 

Ojabo reportedly dropped to the ground clutching his left leg and had to be helped off the field following a pass-rush drill, according to several reports from Pro Day.

While Ojabo was not available for comment, he did post a message Friday afternoon on Twitter saying he will "be back stronger than ever" and that this is "all part" of his story.

Michigan has more than a dozen draft-eligible players. During Pro Day, scouts and coaches from NFL teams observe players going through drills and individual testing.  Aidan Hutchinson, whose 14 sacks last fall set Michigan's single-season sack record, is projected by some analysts the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft.

Hutchinson and Ojabo combined for 25 sacks last season. 

"That’s tough to see," Hutchinson said Friday of Ojabo's injury. "You hate to see that, especially Ojabo being such a close teammate."

Hutchinson said he did not know what happened to Ojabo during the drill or what the injury was. 

"It’s always tough to see the non-contact, because those are so weird," Hutchinson said. "It’s tough to see, especially to go out on a Pro Day. He was only doing drills."

Ojabo earlier Friday had posted a video on Instagram saying "Welcome to Michigan's Pro Day" as the camera, focused on him, scanned around the room of his Michigan teammates. While Ojabo had gone through most of his testing at the combine, this offers another opportunity to get in front of NFL teams.

"Man, I’m praying for him and hoping it’s nothing long-term or anything that will affect his draft stock," Hutchinson said. "He kinda went down, and it was kind of a weird long thing. He was wincing in pain. I’m just hoping he’s all right."

Ojabo came to the United States from Scotland when he was a sophomore in high school and attended Blair Academy in New Jersey. He had played soccer and basketball and did not pick up football until 11th grade.

Last season at Michigan, the 6-foot-4, 250-pound Ojabo had 11 sacks and forced five fumbles.

"I'm just getting started," Ojabo said earlier this month at the NFL Combine. "I've only played one year of true college football, so I'm just learning for sure."

At the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this month, Ojabo ran a 4.55 seconds in the 40-yard dash and also ran the 20-yard shuttle in 4.45 seconds.

"It's been crazy, but I know it's destiny," Ojabo said at the combine referring to his journey. "At the end of the day, I came over here with one goal, and that's just to make it. As a 15 year old, I knew there was something out there for me. I just knew I was going to make it somehow."

More: How David Ojabo went from an 'unknown' to part of Wolverines' fearsome pass-rush tandem

He identified early that Hutchinson was someone to watch and emulate.

"Coming into this season, he was a projected top-five pick, so I knew already that's a high-level guy." Ojabo said of Hutchinson. "It was a smart thing to do to get in his hip pocket and in my head, I thought if I do what he did, I'll be top five. So I just latched on, did everything he did, workouts, film, even asked him about his eating, sleeping habits, all that."

Because there's been nothing concrete about Ojabo's injury or his current status, it is unclear how this will affect his draft stock. In ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay's most recent mock draft, he projected Ojabo going No. 16 overall. Other mock drafts have him among the top-10 selections.

Andrew Stueber, a right tackle at Michigan, was warming up on the sideline when Ojabo suffered the non-contact injury.

"I saw him go down," Stueber said. "I can’t speak for anything for him or what it is. I just wish him the best. He’s a strong kid and he’ll bounce back whatever it is."

Stueber said it was a similar scene to a practice when a player is hurt. 

"There’s obviously that moment of silence, everyone is waiting to hear what it is," Stueber said. "It’s always tough. It’s tough to see for sure, but he’s a tough kid, he’ll bounce back. I know he’s in high spirits."

One by one, his teammates handled media interviews after Pro Day and all described the scene watching Ojabo injured as "tough".

"I couldn't believe it.," defensive back Dax Hill said. "Hopefully he recovers fast."


Twitter: @chengelis