WINNIPEG – He’s only been playing football for four years.
But ever since he first touched the turf, Manitoba Bisons defensive lineman David Onyemata has been pegged as the next big thing. Not just in size (Onyemata clocks in at 6’4″ and 300 lbs) but also skill.
“If he continues to progress at this rate, he’ll be a professional football player in a heart beat,” said Bisons head coach Brian Dobie back in 2012 a few weeks after meeting Onyemata.
On Monday, Dobie got to watch Onyemata take the next step towards the pro ranks. Onyemata showed off his skills to scouts from 17 NFL teams, a little more than half of the league, during a pro day workout in Winnipeg. Onyemata is the first ever Bison to hold such an event.
“I think I took a huge step today,” said Onyemata. “Just showing what kind of athlete I am. What kind of person I am.”
The 23-year-old was tested in seven drills including the 40-yard dash, bench press and broad jump. His results rivaled those posted by the top American pigskin prospect.
“His numbers throughout the day have been crazy,” said Dobie. “He’s top three, top four, top five in the NFL combine. That’s how his numbers are translating. His numbers are extraordinary. That puts him on everyone’s radar screen.”
Onyemata never played a down of football before joining the Bisons before the 2012 season. He moved to Winnipeg from Lagos, Nigeria to pursue an education and decided to give the sport a try.
He quickly turned heads with his style of play. This past season, the 23-year-old won the national university award for the most outstanding down lineman. He also participated in the prestigious East-West Shrine Game in January.
Onyemata has spent the last few months training in California. He’s also been meeting with his agent, Carter Chow, whose office represents some of the biggest names in the NFL like quarterback Tom Brady.
The 2016 NFL Draft takes place April 28-30.
BIG DAVID’S BIG NUMBERS:
Bench Press — 33 reps at 225 lbs
Vertical Jump — 33.5″
Broad Jump — 9’11”
40-yard Dash — 5.06 seconds
Short Shuttle — 4.7 seconds
3-cone Drill — 7.21 seconds