UCLA defensive lineman Otito Ogbonnia to declare for NFL draft, likely sit out bowl game

UCLA defensive lineman Otito Ogbonnia smiles as he walks on the field before a game
UCLA defensive lineman Otito Ogbonnia announced Monday he will enter the NFL draft this spring.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Top UCLA defensive lineman Otito Ogbonnia announced Monday on Twitter that he would forgo his final season of eligibility to declare for the NFL draft, potentially leaving a big hole for the team during the Holiday Bowl game later this month.

A senior with one extra season of eligibility remaining because of the COVID-19 extensions granted to every player, Ogbonnia did not specifically mention the bowl game but intimated that he would sit out to “focus on my rehab for an injury that I’ve played with most of the season and begin my draft preparation. This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make, but I’m proud to say that I played in every football game in my time here at UCLA.”

Ogbonnia was the team’s most productive defensive lineman last season, recording 30 tackles — including five for losses and two sacks — in addition to two quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He was also the top chef on the team who routinely cooked a smorgasbord of delicacies for his fellow out-of-state teammates during Thanksgiving week.


UCLA’s leading tackler on the defensive line will deliver a Thanksgiving spread fit for even the most ravenous of his 300-pound teammates.

Nov. 24, 2021

Ogbonnia is the first UCLA player eligible for the NFL draft to announce his intentions for next season. Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, running back Zach Charbonnet, tight end Greg Dulcich, left tackle Sean Rhyan and safety Quentin Lake are among the others who have remaining eligibility but could opt for the NFL.