Arizona Razorbacks website
OUTLOOK: The heart and soul of the Razorback defense, he burst onto the national scene last season and established himself as one of the best linebackers in the country. Able to dominate in a conference packed full of talented offensive playmakers, this so-called “undersized? defender has stood out in any crowd between the hashes. He ranked third in the SEC in tackles in 2005 on his way to honorable mention All-America honors. He has already been named to watch lists for almost every major national defensive award including the Rotary Lombardi Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Lott Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award. Rivals.com named him as a second-team pre-season All-American. He enters his senior season with 257 career tackles, just 43 away from becoming only the 14th Razorback to record 300 career stops. He boasts eight double-digit tackle games in his career, including five last season alone. The 2006 pre-season All-America selection shows no signs of letting up as the Razorbacks’ starting will (weakside) linebacker
Tampa Bay Buccaneers website
May 03, 2007 - Sam Olajubutu, an undersized but extremely productive linebacker at Arkansas, was asked at the NFL Scouting Combine where he thought he would go in April’s draft. Olajubutu, an upbeat sort who is used to being dismissed due to his height (he measured in at 5-8 at the combine), shrugged, gave his best guess and moved on.
“I don’t know,? he mused. “Probably second day some time.?
The NFL wrapped up its 2007 draft early Sunday evening, and as it turned out Olajubutu was not among the 255 players selected. Scramble the picks and hold the seven rounds all over again, and he might hear his name called this time. Drafting is an inexact science, to put it mildly, and it gets less exact each round. Every year, there are dozens of undrafted free agents who make it onto NFL rosters and many more sixth and seventh-round draft picks who don’t.
And that is why, each year, the last pick in the draft sets off a flurry of phone calls, all of them emanating from the 32 team draft rooms around the country and ending in the homes of players like Olajubutu who could have been drafted but weren’t. The upside for the former Razorback star and his fellow college free agents: They get to choose where they want to begin their NFL careers.
Said Olajubutu when asked again about his draft status at the combine: “I’ll just be happy to get on a team and get a chance to go out and play football.?
Olajubutu, a Georgia native, will get that opportunity in Tampa. He is one of eight undrafted free agents who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday, a list that also includes Georgia Tech cornerback Kenny Scott and Michigan kicker Garrett Rivas.
The Buccaneers also released one veteran on Thursday in order to make room on the 80-man offseason roster. That player was third-year defensive tackle Jon Bradley, who played in seven games with three starts last season and contributed 16 tackles.
NFL draft report (could not copy and paste-copyright protected)[url=http://www.nfldraftscout.com/ratings/dsprofile.php?pyid=16902&draftyear=2007&genpos=OLB]http://www.nfldraftscout.com/ratings/ds ... genpos=OLB[/url]
The sporting news
POSITIVES: Tough, instinctive linebacker who makes plays sideline-to-sideline. Diagnoses the action, explodes up the field and chases hard to get involved. Possesses a burst of speed, plays with good overall quickness and flashes on the scene.
NEGATIVES: Does not consistently take proper angles to the action. Short, and blocked by opposing running backs. Mismatched against tight ends in coverage.
ANALYSIS: A hard-working defender who gives great effort, Olajubutu is a good fit in a one-gap system and should be a demon on special teams.
The Arkansas Traveler
When lining up against Arkansas, opposing offenses may overlook the man in cardinal red roving in the middle of the Razorback defense. At 5-foot-9, he is certainly not the most physically imposing player on the field. But if blockers fail to pick him up, they will soon find out why Sam Olajubutu has been listed on almost every defensive award watch list in the nation.
"Some people used to give me trouble saying I was undersized," Olajubutu said. "But it's alright. I've been hearing it my whole life."
Take a look at the statistics and it is easy to understand why Olajubutu does not give it much thought. His small, but explosive frame has amassed numbers that bigger defenders can only dream of.
"Sam has done a great job for us," Head Coach Houston Nutt said. "He's a team captain and a true devoted senior who loves the game of football and loves to tackle."
Described as the "heart and soul" of the Razorback defense, Olajubutu first established himself as a force in the 2005 season. That year he ranked third in the Southeastern Conference in tackles with 118, including 69 solo.
One year ago against the Alabama Crimson Tide, Olajubutu delivered a then career-best 16 tackles and two sacks.
"It was a smash mouth game," Olajubutu said. "Alabama had a good offensive line and good backs. I knew I had to come to play."
As good as his performance was versus the Tide, it did not take long for Olajubutu to outdo himself. Only a few weeks later he set a new personal best against the Auburn Tigers with 18 tackles, 13 coming in the first half. It was the most tackles in a single game for any player in the entire SEC in 2005.
When the 2006 pre-season watch lists were released, it was no surprise that Olajubutu's name showed up on several of them.
"Having my name mentioned for so many awards has been a real compliment," Olajubutu said.
They include the Rotary Lombardi Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Lott Trophy and the Chuck Bednarik Award.
Whether or not Olajubutu will win any of them is a mystery; but if he does not, it certainly will not be because of any lack of effort.
In the season opener against the No. 6 Southern California Trojans, Olajubutu netted 12 tackles. He followed up with 13 tackles against the Utah State Aggies and 14 against the Vanderbilt Commodores.
After three games, he leads the Razorback defense with 39 tackles and due to a lack of a defensive depth and some unfortunate injuries, upcoming Arkansas opponents can plan on seeing a lot more of him.
"Sam doesn't get to come off the field," Nutt said. "He's even on our punt team."
Referred to as "Butu" by coaches and teammates, Olajubutu has evolved into a true leader. Advising teammates during games and helping them in practice has become standard fare.
"He's a coach on the field for us," Nutt said. "It really helps."
Olajubutu has encouraged players who have been forced to make position changes because of injuries, such as safety-turned-linebacker Matt Hewitt.
"We have guys switching positions and making sacrifices for this team," Olajubutu said. "I tell them we're going to keep winning games and be better because of that."
This season will mark the end of Olajubutu's career as a Razorback which began almost four years ago when he committed to Arkansas out of LaGrange, Ga.
Notching 170 tackles in his senior season, Olajubutu led his prep squad to the state championship game. His efforts earned him all-state honors along with Georgia 3A Defensive Player of the Year and West Georgia Player of the Year.
But despite the accolades, Olajubutu was not heavily recruited out of high school. His final decision came down to Arkansas and Mississippi State, and it was one thing that tipped the scales in the Hogs' favor.
"It was the coaches," Olajubutu said. "When I was visiting, the coaches made me feel at home. That was big."
And though the coaching staff has been shuffled since Olajubutu's arrival on campus, it may have all worked out for the best. Early in his career, Olajubutu was nowhere to be found among the premier linebackers in college football. Then, Reggie Herring was hired as the new defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
"He has really coached me hard. He brought in his style of defense and I had to adapt," Olajubutu said. "He has really pushed me and has made me get better every day."
Facing his final hurrah as a Hog, Olajubutu sees no feat as too daunting. The plan for the remainder of his senior season is simple: "Take it one game at a time and keep winning," he said. "Of course, you want to try and win out."
If not for his lack of height, he was a certain NFL prospect at the very least on special teams. The CFL is noted for signing talented "undersized" players who will have good CFL careers. Maybe Olajubutu is another one.