Coming into the season, many people (including myself) were calling Baylor’s Shawn Oakman as the best defensive player in the conference. While he is playing well, there’s another name floating around that is starting to get the recognition he deserves.
That man is Oklahoma State defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah.
After a strong ten sack, 13 tackle for loss sophomore campaign, Ogbah is now on pace for a conference-leading 15 sacks and 20 tackles for loss season (including a bowl game appearance). But his production may be speaking too loud.
No doubt, he’s been a key to the Cowboys’ stout defense and undefeated season through six games. However, looking at his play during games, I’ve been surprised he’s getting this type of production that has him locked in as a first-round pick in the forthcoming draft.
Standing at 6’4″, 275 pounds, the physical assets are there. But like Oakman is criticized for taking plays off and being an athletic freak, Ogbah suffers the same diagnosis.
He has improved since coming to Stillwater but watch his latest game tape to see there’s still some fine-tuning left for Ogbah to be a bonafide superstar.
Too often he’ll stand up out of the gate and has a slow jump off the ball compared to his defensive line peers. His closing speed also leaves more to be desired.
However, that is not to belittle Ogbah’s value to his team. It’s clear he’s physically gifted to produce even if he is a little raw. Moreover, that should speak to how valuable his teammates are to his production. Jimmy Bean in particular.
The advantage Ogbah holds over his senior teammate is his finishing strength that helps him push through offensive tackles. But Bean is often the first one to contact with a faster acceleration. The two in tandem show just how well they complement each other and the team.
Even Ogbah agrees per ESPN’s Brandon Chatmon, “It’s a team sport. It’s a team effort,” Ogbah said. “If I get a sack, it’s because Jimmy (Bean) is causing destruction on the other side that lets me get to that quarterback.”
Ogbah and Bean have been one of the nation’s top one-two punches in the nation. Between the two defensive ends, they have 12.5 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss.
One hand washes the other.
No other duo of ends in the nation matches that production. Thanks to Bean and Ogbah, the Cowboys are second in the nation with 9.8 tackles for loss per game. They rank first with 4.2 sacks per game, as well.
Between Bean and Ogbah, defensive tackle Vincent Taylor is making some noise of his own. The redshirt sophomore from San Antonio ranks third on the roster with seven tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Soon enough, he’ll be the highlight reel that has OK State fans buzzing.
The Cowboys play host to Kansas this weekend after having an off week to reflect on the close calls the previous three weeks. Expect Ogbah to have another headlining day, but don’t forget to pay attention the surrounding talent that is helping him shine.