BEREA, Ohio -- Cleveland, Ohio is known as a blue-collar town, one whose citizens know all about putting in a hard day’s work, and that is the kind of city new Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi can be proud of representing.
Once 350 pounds and spending his days playing video games, Ogunjobi worked his way into football shape, got a scholarship to the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and showed enough productivity on the field for the Browns to select him in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
“I knew that the city had really good fans,” Ogunjobi said. “It had a really strong support system. Football is really big to the people that live here. I understood that I was coming into a situation that I could really turn this thing around and that the city would appreciate us for that.
“The people here have really deep roots. I don’t think people come to Cleveland just to live in Cleveland. They are here, deep families with a lot of roots here. The people who grew up here and live here really love football. The biggest thing is just truly trying to come in here and just help turn this thing around.”
In 24 games over two years at UNC-Charlotte, the 6-foot-3, 297-pound Ogunjobi registered 127 total tackles, including 68 solo stops and 59 assists. Of the 127 total tackles, 29 went for lost yardage, including 5.5 quarterback sacks.
During his first season at UNC-Charlotte, Ogunjobi totaled 37 solo stops, 25 assists and 62 total tackles, including 15.5 for lost yardage with 2.5 sacks. As a follow-up in 2016, Ogunjobi registered 65 total tackles, including 31 solo stops, 34 assists, 13.5 for lost yardage and three sacks.
The total tackles, assists and sacks were single-season personal bests for Ogunjobi at UNC-Charlotte.
Additionally, Ogunjobi defended two passes during the 2016 season.
“The things that you do on and off of the field are what is going to correlate to the field,” Ogunjobi said. “I made sure I understood that there is a balance. As hard as you work, you have to rest the same way. You have to have the same recovery methods. That is what I have learned, is that you have to balance that out.”
The first former UNC-Charlotte player ever selected in the NFL Draft, Ogunjobi is ready to do whatever is necessary to help the Browns turn themselves into winners after a decade-long drought without a winning season and an absence of playoff appearances since January of 2003.
“I think that is why you play football,” Ogunjobi said. “You play because you want to play and go out there and be the best that you can be. Those kind of things kind of take care of themselves. There are certain things that you can control, and certain things that you can’t.
“What I control is my attitude and my effort, and every day, I have to come out here and understand that every day is an interview. What I put on tape is what is going to be used to scale if I can play or not. That is how you build your résumé, not talking and sounding good in front of everybody else, but by actually going out there and making plays.”