The Baltimore Ravens long history of defensive standouts includes many outside linebackers. One of which was Terrell Suggs who wore No. 55.
Second-year outside linebacker David Ojabo wore No. 55 at the University of Michigan before being selected by the Ravens with the 45th overall selection in the 2022 draft. Ojabo won’t be wearing No. 55 for the Ravens even though he tried to get the number.
Ojabo said Suggs wasn’t having it, so he’ll remain on No. 90. Regardless of the number, Ojabo feels he’s fully recovered from a torn Achilles that caused him to drop out of the first round in the draft. The Achilles injury kept Ojabo on injured reserve until November 1.
“I’m tired of hearing about it,” Ojabo said.” It’s in my past. I’ve grown from it. It’s made me stronger.”
Ojabo said it took a lot of patience to not try and rush back from the injury, but he gained 10 pounds of muscle and is now at his targeted playing weight which is 255 pounds.
“You’ve got to stay close to God, because it’s definitely a test. My patience – just trying to rush things, but also knowing that I’ve got to do it the right way. But it all worked out for good. I’m back, 110%,” Ojabo added.
Being away from the game was tough for Ojabo. It made him better because he took a day by day approach to getting back and doing so with a vengeance. His rookie season consisted of two games. It was highlighted by a strip-sack against the Cincinnati Bengals in the season finale. Ojabo only played two snaps in the playoff loss to Cincinnati the following week.
Now over a year removed from the injury, Ojabo is looking forward to increased opportunities to contribute to the team’s success.
“I feel better. I feel more explosive. And I’m just ready to put on a show, ” Ojabo said. “I know I’m here for a reason, so at the end of the day, it’s just to come show what I’ve got.”
The playbook won’t be an issue since Ravens defensive coordinator Mike McDonald was Ojabo’s coordinator at Michigan. McDonald knows what a healthy Ojabo is capable of doing on the field.
“We have big visions for ‘Ja’ [David Ojabo] and the things that we want him to be able to do. I just don’t look at last year as a setback,” McDonald said. “He’s here and he’s developed. “Mentally, he’s in a great spot, so I think it’s all positive.”
“There’s a lot of things that were – a lot of carryover from what he had heard when we were at Michigan.”
The familiarity doesn’t stop with his college defensive coordinator. Ojabo will be rushing the passer opposite Odafeh Oweh. He was his roommate in high school at Blair Academy in New Jersey. Ojabo spent a lot of time with Oweh this past season as he worked his way back from injury. They’ve already spent plenty of time together getting ready for this season as well.
“I’m just so excited for him [David Ojabo] to really show everybody who he really is as a player, as a person,” Oweh said. “You could just tell he was motivated. He was energized to prove something, not just to everyone else, but to himself.”