Ogbongbemiga was born in Nigeria and spent a short stint as a child in Houston before his family moved to Calgary in 2011. He played his high-school ball at local Notre Dame High School where he was teammates with fellow Chargers defender Deane Leonard. During his time at Notre Dame, he helped his school set a record with 37 consecutive victories.
Following a redshirt season during his first year at Oklahoma State, Ogbongbemiga saw the field on both defense and special teams in all 12 games as a redshirt freshman. He finished with 16 tackles and two tackles for loss. His sophomore season involved a similar stat line of 12 tackles, 1.5 sacks, three tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery.
In 2019, Ogbongbemiga was given the team’s Leslie O’Neal Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award after a campaign that saw him record 100 total tackles, 15.5 tackles-for-loss, and five sacks to go along with an interception and a forced fumble.
His senior in 2020 wasn’t as productive as his junior year but he still managed 80 total tackles, five tackles for loss, and two sacks with three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He was named a Second-Team All-Big 12 selection and was a permanent team captain for the season. By the end of his career, Ogbongbemiga became one of 10 players in program history to be named First-Team All-Academic selection in four-straight seasons.
Ogbongbemiga would ultimately go undrafted during the 2021 but that didn’t stop him from making the Chargers’ final roster that year in a shallow linebacker group. As a rookie, he saw two starts due to injuries in front of him but managed to play a role in 15 games total either on defense or special teams. He ended his rookie season with 26 tackles, one sack, and two tackles for loss. In year two with the Chargers, he played solely on special teams and finished the year with six tackles.
College: Oklahoma State
Years with team: 2
“Amen Ogbongbemiga signed a 3 year, $2,440,000 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including a $15,000 signing bonus, $30,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $813,333. In 2023, Ogbongbemiga will earn a base salary of $940,000, while carrying a cap hit of $945,000 and a dead cap value of $5,000.” - Spotrac.com
Ogbongbemiga came out of Oklahoma State with a high IQ both on and off the football field. He’s quick to diagnose his run fits and was deemed a “menace” as a blitzer by NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein during the pre-draft process. Ogbongbemiga has been a core special teamer for the Chargers out of the gate and that’s where the majority of his value lies with this team.
Amen Ogbongbemiga showed some really good signs as a run defender yesterday. Great job here letting the play develop, shedding a Patrick Ricard block (no slouch), and making the play. pic.twitter.com/XenvH9hXCo— Steven Haglund (@StevenIHaglund) October 19, 2021
Ogbongbemiga is a limited athlete who will struggle when asked to cover and move outside the box. He also lacks in general length for the position so he’ll have a tough time engaging an separating from blocks. Zierlein also noted that Ogbongbemiga spends too much time “guarding grass” while in zone coverage.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2023?
Drue Tranquill and Troy Reeder both left in free agency and the Chargers replaced them with 2023 third-rounder Daiyan Henley and veteran Eric Kendricks. There’s certainly a top five within the position group that all could be kept on the final roster similar to how the Chargers constructed their roster a season ago. While the team never deploys more than two inside linebackers at a time, when Ogbongbemiga and others are core special teamers, it makes sense to see them keep additional bodies at random position groups to make sure they have plenty of talent for the third phase of the game. In the end, I believe Ogbongbemiga makes the team and carries out a similar role in 2023.