Devine Ozigbo may not have been on many teams’ draft boards before the season, but he definitely was after it.
The Husker ran for more than 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns during his senior season, breaking out as the lead back in Scott Frost’s offense. Then he gained more buzz during a college all-star game and with a strong showing at his pro day.
And with the NFL draft set for this week, Ozigbo remains confident he’ll be picked.
“A lot of teams expect me to get drafted, whether it’s by them or somebody else,” Ozigbo said Monday during an appearance on “The Bottom Line.” “It’s just a waiting game. They can tell you everything they want to tell you, but until your name gets called, it’s kinda up in the air.”
Ozigbo, who has spent most of the spring working out in Lincoln, said he’s spoken with all 32 NFL teams at least once, and “there’s a good amount of teams that are steadily in contact.”
He plans to watch the draft at home in Texas with his family and close friends. At the very least they’ll celebrate his graduation from college and everything he accomplished at Nebraska.
And if he gets drafted? They’ll celebrate that, too.
“I don’t think I’ll be nervous,” Ozigbo said. “I can’t see myself being nervous. If it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen. … But I think I’ll be calm and happy when the time comes.”
Check out a transcript of select excerpts from Ozigbo’s interview below:
On the NFL draft process:
“I would say it’s kinda on like a steady incline. I feel like momentum for me, personally just throughout this whole thing, has been going up slowly, but I can’t complain. I’m happy with it.”
On whether he had a chip on his shoulder from not getting invited to the NFL combine:
“I can use it as motivation, but to call it a chip on my shoulder is one of those things I don’t necessarily — it’s hard to explain. I knew there was a chance I could get invited, but when I found out, it was something I quickly dispelled. I just focused on having my pro day. I was going to go in there with an open mindset, not really too worried about (the combine).”
On his pro day performance:
“I’m probably my hardest critic, and there’s things I want to improve, but the feedback I’ve been hearing from people and how it went — and I did think it went pretty well — so I feel pretty confident and happy with how I performed.”
On what he wanted to improve:
“I definitely think there were two things. People wanted to see me move and catch the ball and bursting. They wanted to get a realistic time of how fast I actually was, because the film definitely showed I was running with a little more juice this year, but people were (wondering), ‘How fast is he actually?’”
On interviews with NFL teams:
“It’s definitely weird. You talk about yourself way more than I anticipated. It’s kinda funny, because you feel like you’re the person you know the best, but then as soon as somebody asks you a question, you blank. … They’re just really trying to see how you present yourself and how you carry yourself, if you’re a guy they can bring into the organization who’s going to be good for the team. So you put your best foot forward, show yourself in the best light.”
On playing in different offensive systems at Nebraska:
“I think it helps me a lot. Just from being able to play in those, get a feel, get my eyes used to being in those situations, and then from even the way I was coached, to pass (protection), to the way they do check downs, I feel like I’ve got a little bit of everything. And I feel like that complements my game, because I’m the type of player I want to be good at every part of a running back. Being able to play in every kind of offense, I think that’s definitely an asset I have.”
On what’s next:
“Depending on the team, how quickly you get picked up through the draft or free agency, you could be there like two days after, and then you have rookie mini camp. So that’s pretty much what I’m getting ready for, getting ready to go to a little more football-type (workouts), so I can learn the offense and be in football shape and be able to move well in front of the coaches.”