An 18-year-old who grew up in Westhill has taken another step towards America’s National Football League (NFL) by committing to a scholarship at the University of Michigan.
David Ojabo originally went to the US to finish school and pursue his dream of playing professional basketball.
However, a lack of court time and talent in sprinting despite his large frame led him into American football.
Now, a year on from first trying the game, the former International School of Aberdeen pupil’s exploits on the field have secured him a “full ride” at Michigan – where the Wolverines are coached by former San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Michigan is a top, or “division one”, college where the football programme has the most all-time wins in college football history. Three Wolverines have won the Heisman Trophy – given to the college game’s most valuable player.
After announcing his decision, Ojabo said: “I was a young 15-year-old kid who loved the game of basketball and only dreamed of going to America in order to pursue those dreams.
“Now I can say I am blessed to have received 35 scholarship (offers) to play a sport I had very little prior knowledge of.”
Ojabo went on to thank his family, high school coaches and Andy Field – the International School teacher who encouraged him to take a chance on his dream.
Ojabo’s scholarship offers came from universities including Ohio State and Penn State, after impressing in both the positions of defensive end and defensive tackle for his high school, Blair Academy, based in Blairstown in the state of New Jersey.
Ojabo’s family, who moved to the north-east from Port Harcourt in Nigeria more than 10 years ago, still live in Westhill and the 105kg, six-foot-six athlete has previously said he considers Scotland his home “over Nigeria”.
He will play out his final year at Blair Academy, before starting at Michigan in summer next year.