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Cleveland Browns make NFL draft history for Charlotte 49ers football program

Charlotte 49ers DT Larry Ogunjobi on his inspiration

Former Charlotte 49ers defensive tackle and NFL draft prospect Larry Ogunjobi on his family, which he says is his biggest inspiration.
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Former Charlotte 49ers defensive tackle and NFL draft prospect Larry Ogunjobi on his family, which he says is his biggest inspiration.

On the first pick of the third round, the Charlotte 49ers football program hit a historic first as the Cleveland Browns added defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi with the 65th overall pick in the NFL draft.

Ogunjobi, a first-generation American who didn’t begin playing football until he got to high school, became the first 49ers player drafted into the NFL on Friday night.

“It hasn’t really hit me, yet. A bunch of mixed emotions,” said Ogunjobi on Friday night, according to the 49ers website. “It’s a blessing to be the first and to come out here and do what so many people said you couldn’t do.”

"We thought he was one of the more physically gifted defensive tackles in the entire draft – strong, explosive and athletic,” Browns vice president of player personnel Andrew Berry said on the team website. “Coming into the fall, he obviously dominated Conference USA and improved every year during his career.”

“It’s crazy how it all happened,” Ogunjobi said. “(I wear) No. 65 to be drafted as the 65th pick. The story just keeps getting better and I’m excited to see how it continues.”

Ogunjobi is the Charlotte 49ers’ career leader in tackles, tackles for loss and sacks. He also exceled in the classroom.

“He'll bring a great work ethic to the Browns, just as he did here,” said 49ers coach Brad Lambert. “We could not be prouder of all that he has achieved and the type of player and person he has become.”

The son of Nigerian immigrants is a double major in computer science and biology who is considering applying to med school.

“You see all my friends and my family are around me,” said Ogunjobi on Friday. “They’re a part of me. They’re the reason why I’m here. All the guys that helped me to reach this point.”

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Defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi, drafted by the Cleveland Browns Friday night, is the Charlotte 49ers’ career leader in tackles, tackles for loss and sacks. David J. Phillip AP

Ogunjobi took part in the 2017 Senior Bowl, as did members of the Browns coaching staff.

“He was exceptional during the Senior Bowl week and responded well to the uptick in competition,” Berry said. “Really just the time that we spent scouting him going to work him out this spring, we felt very comfortable with his overall skillset and his fit in our defense.”

Ogunjobi, 6-foot-3, 305 pounds, started every single game the Charlotte 49ers have played up to this point. He played high school football for Ragsdale in the Greensboro area.

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