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Olusegun Oluwatimi
NFL Draft

Olusegun Oluwatimi NFL Draft 2023 Prospect Interview

  • Justin Melo
  • February 27, 2023
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Michigan’s Olusegun Oluwatimi is one of the more intriguing center prospects available in the 2023 NFL Draft. Oluwatimi is an experienced interior blocker that’s logged more than 3,500 career snaps. An easy evaluation, Oluwatimi also participated in this year’s Senior Bowl.

Oluwatimi recently spoke exclusively with The Draft Network. Oluwatimi discussed his experiences in Mobile, his decision to transfer from Virginia to Michigan, playing for coach Jim Harbaugh, and so much more. The 2023 class of centers is a deep one and Oluwatimi is firmly entrenched in the upper tier.

JM: What was your experience like at this year’s Senior Bowl?

Olusegun Oluwatimi: It was a good experience. The Senior Bowl throws a lot at you from a scheduling perspective. We completed interviews with all 32 teams. I haven’t been to the NFL Scouting Combine yet, but I imagine it’s similar from a scheduling perspective from what I’ve heard.

The Senior Bowl gave me an opportunity to compete against some terrific prospects that I didn’t play against in college. I competed against some great seniors there, some of which I have played against in the past. 

It was a great experience that really tested me. It forces you to be at your best even when maybe you’re not feeling your best. It was a great experience at the end of the day.

JM: What do you feel is the impression you left on general managers and scouts in attendance?

Olusegun Oluwatimi: I thought I improved every single day. I showed that I’m a leader. I proved that I’m an excellent communicator at the line of scrimmage. I’m extremely passionate about football. I think I showed what caliber of player I am. I got better every single day. By the end of the week, I was at the level I expected of myself. It was my brand of football. I definitely put my best foot forward.

JM: You met with all 32 teams in Mobile as you said. What was that experience like? Did you hear from teams multiple times?

Olusegun Oluwatimi: All 32 of my interviews went well. They were fairly basic sessions. Teams wanted to get to know me. Most of the position coaches, coordinators, and head coaches weren’t in those meetings. It was mostly scouts, personnel guys, and things of that nature. 

Even though the interviews were formal, I wasn’t really asked to get on the whiteboard or anything like that. I think three or four teams may have asked me to do that. 

All of my interviews went well. We’re still early in the process. Any teams reaching out right now are asking questions about medicals or compiling basic information. They’re getting the information they need to prepare for the combine. It’s standard stuff across the board.

After the combine, that’s when we’ll start to hear from different teams and maybe get a better idea of which teams are interested in drafting you. Not all 32 teams need a center in this draft. 

JM: That’s an excellent point. Now that you’ve had time to reflect on it, how do you look back on your decision to transfer from Virginia to Michigan?

Olusegun Oluwatimi: It was a great decision. A lot of great things happened for me in 2022. I was able to wear that legendary Maize and Blue. I put on that helmet, man. It’s been a whirlwind. 

I was coached by the best offensive line coach [Sherrone Moore] in all of college football. I played on the best offensive line in college football. I was coached by the best head coach [Jim Harbaugh] in college football. What more could I ask for?

We won a lot of games. I played against some great players. We practiced against terrific defenders every single day. We had one of the best defenses in college football. It was a great experience. I grew a lot. The strength and conditioning staff did so much for me. 

I’m thankful I made the decision to transfer to Michigan. Things couldn’t have worked out any better for me.

JM: That’s a terrific answer. You clearly hold Michigan to a special standard. Speaking of, what’s playing for coach Jim Harbaugh like? He’s one of college football’s best leaders as you said.

Olusegun Oluwatimi: He’s awesome. He comes from the NFL. He understands what it takes to win at the highest level. He knows what an NFL player is supposed to look like and how we’re supposed to handle business and conduct ourselves. He taught us the importance of scheduling and finding a professional routine.

Getting that knowledge from him has been huge for me. He’s given me reassurances. If he believes in you, you know you’re doing things right. I’m on the right track. He’s so awesome from that aspect.

He’s coaching Michigan and he’s trying to win a National Championship. He’s won the Big Ten title in consecutive seasons. He’s the man for the job. He knows what he’s doing. He’s putting the right people in place. He’s hired the best coordinators, position coaches, GAs [graduate assistants], analysts, and so on.

He’s making Michigan the best program it can be. Michigan is rolling now. They have another level to tap into and that’s winning a National Championship. Coach Harbaugh is doing an excellent job for Michigan.

JM: Michigan is certainly on the right track. How do you think playing in Michigan’s offense helped prepare you to play in an NFL offense?

Olusegun Oluwatimi: I played in a pro-style offense. I handled our communications as our starting center. We’re big on communication. I was asked to do more in Michigan’s scheme than in Virginia’s. I thought it challenged me in a good way. It prepared me.

I feel like the learning curve is going to be less steep for me in the NFL now. It would have been steeper had I stayed at Virginia. We were in 12 and 13 personnel a lot. We were a run-first team and we ran the ball out of various looks. We executed a wide array of rushing schemes on game day.

We had a huge playbook. It was a lot to handle, but it’s going to pay dividends for me at the next level. 

JM: And when we turn the tape on, we see a prospect with terrific hand placement and punch timing. How did you develop that aspect of your game?

Olusegun Oluwatimi: For one, experience is a great teacher. If you turn on my tape from 2019 when I first became a starter and compare it to my 2022 tape, you’re going to see a completely different player. I went against a lot of great players. I’ve faced defenders of all shapes and sizes, quick guys, big and strong guys, and so on. I’ve seen the total package.

You have to do different things to combat that. That’s how you win on game day and throughout the week of practice. I had to earn my coaches’ confidence to place me in those situations. They knew I was able to execute.

I attribute that to my experience first and foremost. Repetition is an excellent teacher. I attribute that to the talented players I went against. Everybody at Michigan helped me on a daily basis. The competition level at practice was high. I was challenged at Virginia as well. Everybody that knew my tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses, they challenged me to become a better player. They attacked my weaknesses. That meant I had to work at those things daily. I had to ensure I wasn’t getting beat. That’s really what I attribute all of that to. 

I had to be deliberate. When you’re going into the offseason, spring ball, training camp, or whatever it may be, you already have certain things you want to work at and improve on. The way you improve on it is by being deliberate. 

I’m my own biggest critic. I have small cues to remind myself of certain things on game day. I use those skills to my advantage in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage. We have a pass play here, okay, I’m going to work on my punch and my off-hand or things of that nature. 

If you’re deliberate when you’re training and preparing to become a better player, eventually you have those skills in your toolbag. It just comes out naturally. I don’t even have to think about it anymore.

JM: That’s a terrific answer. I can tell you’re extremely passionate about playing center. I have to ask what’s your favorite aspect of playing the center position?

Olusegun Oluwatimi: You have to be a natural-born leader to play center. We technically have the ball in our hands on every single play. I love that controlled aggression. You have to play with control because you’re taking care of the football first and foremost. You can’t be all over the place, or you risk the ball going all over the place.

But you’re still an offensive lineman at the end of the day. You still want to get after people by executing and finishing. I love that aspect of it. I love having control of the guys up front. I’m our voice at the line of scrimmage and inside our position room. There’s a lot of weight on your shoulders as the center, but if you’re meant to play that position like I am, that’s when you see all five offensive linemen flourish.

JM: You really do. We saw that on tape with you. I’ve appreciated your time today. This has been a terrific conversation. In closing, what kind of impact is Olusegun Oluwatimi going to make at the next level?

Olusegun Oluwatimi: I’m going to be a guy that does everything right. I want to be a leader. I’m going to come into the building and handle myself like a professional. That’s how I go about my business. I love to compete. I don’t want anything handed to me. I want to have an opportunity to earn a starting job. I want to fight for it.

Ultimately, I want to eventually take others under my wing and show them how to do things the right way. I’m going to put my head down, go to work and learn. I want to become that veteran that eventually earns respect. I’m going to work to get there. 

Whatever team drafts me, they’re getting a guy that’s going to do things the right way. I’m going to add value to the O-line room.

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Justin Melo