IOWA CITY — He had Iowa’s first interception of the season last Saturday night, which was a pretty cool thing, considering all that Michael Ojemudia has dealt with in his time as a Hawkeye.
You never want to openly root for anyone, but perhaps in this case you make an exception.
The senior from Bloomfield Hills, Mich., was in and out of the lineup at cornerback for Iowa as a sophomore and junior. He overcame a hamstring injury to reclaim a starting spot late last season.
That’s on-field perseverance.
“Over my career, I have given up some plays or whatever and maybe gotten taken out,” Ojemudia said. “But I feel like just how I was raised, just being a fighter, I’m glad I have another chance to showcase myself. I’m just thankful for that, and that’s why I feel I have so much confidence right now. It’s my last chance. Try and put my best tape out there. That’s basically the kind of confidence I have.”
Then there’s Ojemudia’s unique background. His mother and father, Bose and Dennis, emigrated from Nigeria and founded DenBos Home Health Care in the Detroit suburbs.
Dennis Ojemudia also has served as an engineer for the Ford Motor Company, with his son’s passion outside of football being cars. If the NFL doesn’t work out, you could see Michael designing automobiles for a living some day.
So consider being a high-level college football player who has had his ups and downs also being a mechanical engineering major. That isn’t easy.
As Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz tells it, Ojemudia experienced some ups and downs on that side of it as well.
“Yeah, it’s all out there for him right now. This is his senior year. You hope guys play their best every year of their career and certainly their senior years,” Ferentz said. “I think I’m probably going to violate the Buckley Amendment here, but I’ve told the pro guys that the most impressive thing about his whole career, his dad is an engineer, and he was determined and is determined to be an engineer, graduate as an engineer from Iowa.
“He had a rough go initially. I mean, he got beat up pretty good in that classroom. It’s tough to do both. It’s not for everybody, certainly. What he was going through, I wasn’t sure he was going to stick with that quite frankly, but he did. He was determined, and he’s going to be just fine.”
Ojemudia was one of three players Iowa took to Big Ten Conference media days in August. He was selected a game captain last week against Miami (Ohio) and will be again this week against Rutgers.
That’s all you need to know about what his coaches and teammates think of him.
Ojemudia is being asked to take a leadership role for a secondary that is breaking in a brand new starting free safety in Kaevon Merriweather and ‘Cash’ in D.J. Johnson. Speaking up is not necessarily in his DNA.
“Even when it’s uncomfortable, sometimes you’ve got to get on the guys when they are in the wrong spots or whatever,” he said.
Michael Ojemudia seems poised for his best year, yet, at the University of Iowa. That’s in the classroom and on the field.
“It’s been fun,” he said. “My last year, they voted me captain this week. I feel like just being more prepared than I was before (is important). Just trying to set an example is what I’m trying to do. I feel like my best game is in front of me right now.”
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