Los Angeles Chargers Sign Former Ohio State Club Football Wide Receiver Praise Olatoke

By Dan Hope on June 14, 2024 at 2:23 pm
Praise Olatoke
Grant Hoyt/Ohio State Club Football

Praise Olatoke went from playing club football at Ohio State to landing an NFL roster spot in two years.

The former club football wide receiver and track and field sprinter at Ohio State signed with the Los Angeles Chargers on Friday.

Olatoke landed the opportunity to join the Chargers by participating in the NFL’s International Pathway Program, which provides opportunities for international athletes from varying sports backgrounds to compete for NFL roster spots. As a part of the program, Olatoke trained at IMG Academy this spring and went through a pro day in March in which scouts from across the NFL evaluated him and the IPP’s other participants.

A native of Scotland who had never played football before joining Ohio State’s club football team in 2022, Olatoke caught seven passes for 231 yards and four touchdowns in his lone season with the team. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound wide receiver has run the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds and believes his combination of physical attributes and mental makeup give him the ability to play in the NFL despite his lack of football experience.

“I've sort of established to myself that this is what I want to do. So I'm not going to let this opportunity go by me because of ignorance or attitude or character,” Olatoke told Eleven Warriors in March. “I know physically, I can do it. I’m tall enough, fast enough, I’ve got the right makeup. So just marrying those two together gives me confidence that I can do what I say I want to do.”

Ohio State club football coach James Grega said he believes Olatoke has the potential to play in the NFL as he becomes more acclimated to the game.

“We always told him, and I know a lot of his teammates had kind of communicated like, ‘Hey man, if you get the reps, and you figure out the X's and O's part and verbiage and learning the more intimate details of the game, you have NFL-capable qualities in terms of speed, in terms of size,’” Grega told Eleven Warriors in March. “All of (the physical ability) is there, it's just a matter of honing in on the game itself. And that's what I told the IPP, and it's been really cool to see him take all those steps and put his head down and keep working and get to this point.”

Olatoke said in March that “it'd be a dream come true” to make an NFL roster.

“For years now, I've been imagining myself throwing on a helmet and catching touchdowns and making plays and all that stuff. So it would be like my imagination coming into fruition,” Olatoke said.

Now, Olatoke will have that chance with the Chargers, who are entering their first year led by former Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh. He joins a receiving corps that needs new playmakers to emerge following the offseason departures of longtime stalwarts Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.

If Olatoke doesn’t make the Chargers’ 53-man roster, they will be able to keep him as a 17th member of their practice squad using the spot specifically designated by the NFL for international players.

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