BOCA RATON – Howard Schnellenberger’s final recruit to FAU is about to receive his shot at the NFL.
On Thursday, former Owls defensive tackle Shalom Ogbonda travels north as an invitee to the New York Jets minicamp, which begins Friday.
“I’m excited,” Ogbonda said. “I’m just thankful that the whole pre-draft process is over.”
Ogbonda committed to FAU during the summer of 2011 – prior to the final season of program-founding coach Howard Schnellenberger.
He kept the commitment made to Schnellenberger’s staff and Carl Pelini, who took over for Schnellenberger, honored that commitment. Ogbonda played for Pelini, Brian Wright and Charlie Partridge, recording 105 tackles – 52 as a senior.
“I feel like I’ve been in the (Oxley Center) for a half a decade,” Ogbonda said. “It’s crazy. I loved every minute of it though.”
Ogbonda heads to the Jets facility of Florham Park, N.J. without a contract for what is essentially an extended tryout. If the Jets like what they see they could offer him a free agent contract during the weekend.
“Now that I have an opportunity to go play football,” Ogbonda said. “That’s all I want to do.”
With linebacker Randell Johnson and defensive tackle Brandin Bryant already on the roster, the Jets are familiar with FAU football players.
Ogbonda spoke with both Bryant and Johnson after accepting the invite to Jets camp.
Johnson, Ogbonda said, told him to make the most of his opportunity. Bryant offers suggestions on how to grab the attention of coaches.
“He said be vocal, stand out, run to the ball, give effort,” Ogbonda said Bryant told him. “These are three days that can change your life.”
Johnson and Bryant won’t partake in this week’s rookie camp, but there will be another former FAU defensive player at that camp.
Former FAU assistant coach Jeff Sims confirmed that Jeremy Faulk, who began his collegiate career as an Owls defensive tackle and played alongside Ogbonda, has also been invited to Jets rookie camp. Faulk transferred from FAU to Garden City CC, where Sims is currently the head coach.
Tight end Tyler Cameron will also head to a NFL rookie minicamp this weekend, his being with Baltimore. The Ravens like Cameron as a hybrid tight end/fullback. Like Ogbonda, Cameron is also hoping to leave with a contract.
New Orleans and the Los Angeles Chargers won’t hold their minicamps until the following weekend. The Saints drafted former FAU defensive end Trey Hendrickson in the third round. The Chargers signed offensive lineman Dillon DeBoer as an undrafted free agent.