It’s official: W&M Offensive Lineman and recent graduate Jerry Ugokwe has been picked up by an NFL squad! The Indianapolis Colts have signed Jerry as an undrafted free agent. Congrats to Jerry on making it to the NFL!! He will join fellow graduate and linebacker Luke Rhodes in Indianapolis. We like the sound of that.
Early Football Career
Jerry Ugokwe is a large man. Standing at 6’8″ 305 pounds, he is bigger than most players on a football field, regardless of the level. And that’s probably an understatement. The interesting story behind Jerry is that he didn’t even start playing football until his JUNIOR year in high school at Georgetown Prep. He has only played football for 6 years, and came to William & Mary as a walk-on. Now he’s in the NFL. Wow.
William & Mary Career
Jerry went from a Tribe walk-on to starting 42 games for the Green and Gold, at both left and right tackle. He was a two time All-CAA selection, and finished his career with 35 straight starts at right tackle. His first ever start came during his freshman year at left tackle against West Virginia. In that game, Jerry held his own, and proved his worth right from the get-go.
In his sophomore year, Jerry switched to right tackle, starting all 11 games in which he appeared. In his junior year, Jerry started all 13 games, earning a third team All-CAA selection in the process.
In his senior season, all eyes were on the big lineman. Multiple scouts came to practices each week, with their eyes on Jerry; he did not disappoint. He started all 11 games at left tackle, and earned first team All-CAA honors and third-team All-America honors by the Associated Press and STATS. Due to his stellar senior season, he was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine as well as the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl where he continued to turn heads.
NFL Combine Numbers
40 yard dash: 5.61 seconds
Bench Press (225 lbs): 18 reps
Vertical Jump: 26.0 inches (top 25 in combine)
Broad Jump: 103 inches (top 25 in combine)
3-cone drill: 8.35 seconds
Draft Profile (via NFL.com)
Ugokwe didn’t play football until his junior year in high school, as his massive frame made it difficult to ignore his promise as an offensive lineman. The Nigerian native (his father was the country’s ambassador to Austria) was a walk-on at William and Mary but wound up starting 42 straight games for the Tribe. He redshirted in 2012 to get his game ready, then started seven of eight games played at left tackle in 2013. Ugokwe moved to the right tackle spot for the 2014 season and stayed on the right side as a junior, earning third-team All-Colonial Athletic Association notice for his efforts. As a senior, the Associated Press voted him a third-team FCS All-American while CAA coaches named him first-team all-conference at right tackle.
Good-looking on the hoof with NFL frame and length. Makes use of his long arms and big hands. Plays with good foot quickness in his initial, lateral movement. Has ability to reach three-techniques with more coaching. Athletic enough to secure, climb and locate moving targets. Displays a nasty streak and looks to finish blocks with some attitude. Can be a nuisance to pass rushers when he strikes first and locks those long arms out in pass protection. Has experience at both tackle spots. Outstanding intelligence and moldable prospect.
Might need additional work and time to be able to catch up with the jump in talent he’ll see at pro level. Doesn’t always take the smart angle against twists and allows his protection to become leaky at times. Too often stiff-legged at contact in his pass sets, allowing open door for bull-rushers to create instant push. Plays with narrow base as drive blocker. Will lunge at the top of the pass rush arc rather than relying on technique. Needs to bring feet with him on angle blocks in order to maintain better contact balance.
Didn’t pick up the sport until his junior year of high school but has shown rapid growth over the last three years. While there is a lack of consistency in his technique at this time, he has the traits and potential that should provide offensive line coaches with enough ammo to correct his issues. If he can play with more consistent bend and a wider base, he has interesting developmental potential, but he will likely require a patient approach.
Fit with the Indianapolis Colts
The Colts currently have 3 left tackles and 2 right tackles on their depth chart. They also drafted OT Zach Banner from USC in the fourth round of this year’s NFL draft. Therefore, Jerry will face competition as an undrafted free agent, otherwise known as an NFL “walk on.” He will need a great rookie minicamp and training camp in order to have a shot at making this team.
W&M Fun Fact: In addition to the aforementioned Luke Rhodes, Jerry also joins former Tribe QB Brent Caprio (scouting assistant for the Colts), meaning that there are now THREE William & Mary players in the Colts organization.
With his size, work ethic, and drive, we believe Jerry can definitely make the team. He did it with the Tribe as a walk on, and now it’s time to do it with the Colts. WE BELIEVE! LET’S GO JERRY and LET’S GO TRIBE!!!