How David Ugwoegbu seeks to lead the Sooners in 2021

·2 min read

On Wednesday, the media spoke to linebacker David Ugwoegbu following OU’s practice. The junior fielded questions about his development, his teammate’s progress, and his willingness to be a leader this upcoming season.

Ugwoegbu was laser-focused while answering the questions placed in front of him, but he couldn’t help but smile when discussing what this Sooners’ defense is capable of in 2021.

Ugwoegbu transitioned to inside linebacker last season and made three starts in his 11 appearances. It did not take long for him to figure out how to move in space and use his 6-4 frame to harass quarterbacks. His best game in year two came during Bedlam, where he recorded his first-career interception along with five tackles as the Sooners suffocated the Cowboys, 41-13.

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Ugwoegbu possesses a commanding wingspan and the athleticism needed to make the most of it. A peek at his 2020 tape shows his ability to fully wrap up ball carriers and limit opportunities for broken tackles. Ugwoegbu’s combination of height and speed makes him the ideal man to patrol the interior of the Sooners’ defense.

Now, with the benefit of a traditional offseason, expectations are high that the third-year man can make the jump in Alex Grinch’s defense. During yesterday’s media availability, Ugwoegbu explained how his experience at middle linebacker has empowered him to lead his teammates.

I feel way more confident out there. It’s now my second year at this position, I’ve been through a whole offseason and now I feel like I can take more of a leadership role. [As opposed to last year] I was more focused on learning and perfecting the position. Now, I feel like I can be more vocal and be a leader on the defense.

It’s no secret that the strength of Oklahoma’s defense rests in its front seven. A productive year from David Ugwoegbu, coupled with the expected success of Isaiah Thomas and Nik Bonitto, could be exactly what the Sooners need to clinch a national title.

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