While the skilled stage is an altogether totally different beast than the novice ranks, you’d be hard-pressed to search out an NFL athlete who doesn’t nonetheless care fairly a bit about his alma mater and follows his fellow alumni. That is perhaps much more true of those that come out of smaller faculties like Charlotte.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have collected themselves a few Charlotte 49ers now since signing veteran defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi final month, who simply so occurs to have performed with third-year Alex Highsmith, at the least for one season, earlier than being drafted within the third spherical by the Cleveland Browns in 2017. Highsmith was drafted by the Steelers within the third spherical three years later.
“Me and Alex went to school together, so there’s that, and his dad was always following me real close throughout my years in the league”, Ogunjobi stated of his relationship with Highsmith. “We always kept in touch, and Alex is like family, so he was excited when there were, like, rumors of me coming here”.
Ogunjobi was the primary participant at school historical past to be drafted into the NFL, adopted by Nate Davis, additionally taken within the third spherical, by the Tennessee Titans in 2019. Highsmith is the third and most up-to-date draft choose, in 2020, from the college, although Ben DeLuca, a university free agent, is one other lively participant who was Ogunjobi’s and Highsmith’s teammate in school.
The former alluded to Sam Highsmith, who’s a really lively soccer dad. He was very comfy within the position of Charlotte ambassador, however had adopted the identical position in Steeler Nation since his son got here on board, and has been embraced by the followers as effectively. He’s additionally not a foul salesman.
“He was like, ‘Man, you’d look really nice in that black and yellow’”, Ogunjobi stated of what the senior Highsmith informed him when rumors started to flow into that he can be visiting the Steelers, including that it will be good for him to play along with his son once more.
Now each Larry and Alex might be starters within the Steelers’ entrance seven this 12 months, taking part in pivotal roles within the end result of this season. How lengthy they’ve collectively, nonetheless, stays to be seen. Ogunjobi signed only a one-year deal after a extra profitable three-year contract with the Chicago Bears fell by because of a foot harm.
Highsmith remains to be below contract for the subsequent two years on his rookie deal, although could possibly be in line for an extension round this time subsequent 12 months. But that’s a query for 2023. For now, they’ll take pleasure in rooming collectively at Saint Vincent College, Ogunjobi with the younger walk-on who “used to message me about rushing and all that kind of stuff”.