I was a little surprised when I learned that Baylor Defensive lineman, Chidi Ogbonnaya, was recognized by Athlon Sports as being a part of the Big 12 All Conference Team. This is a player that I think even a lot of Baylor fans are unaware of his talent. But as I watched some old film from the 2019 season (Thanks 20 Minute Versions on Youtube), I started to understand why he made the preseason list.
To say that Chidi Ogbonnaya was overlooked last year would be an understatement. Playing behind 3 guys that made up the best defensive line in the conference, including 2 NFL draft picks, it would be difficult for any reserve player to be noticed. But after playing in 10 games in 2018, and recording just 5 tackles, Chidi was able to increase his production a decent amount, even in his backup role in 2019. He got his first sack, had enough penetration to have 3 TFLs, and even forced a fumble. And it is not a stretch to say that the forced fumble might’ve been the most important play made by the defense all year. The Bears and Cowboys were throwing haymakers back and forth before Chidi got his paw on the football, leading to a Terrel Bernard defensive touchdown and putting Baylor up 2 scores. It was huge play made by Chidi. And all year long he did it in multiple ways. He played different techniques on the defensive line, and was disruptive both as a pass rusher and defending the run.
After two years of experience and learning behind some fantastic players, it’s Chidi’s time to shine. In 2020 he will be one of the most battled tested players on the defense. At 6’ 5’’ and 300 pounds he is a force to reckon with. And I think if Baylor is going to avoid that big step back that some in the media expect, the Bears will need a leader on that defensive line. I know one thing is for sure. He will not be an unknown to Baylor fans after the 2020 season.