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Chris Oladokun
NFL Draft

Chris Oladokun Confident He Can Find A Place In The NFL

  • Crissy Froyd
  • February 23, 2022
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Plenty of people will doubt a quarterback who has transferred to multiple spots, whether they’re familiar with the circumstances or not. That’s something South Dakota State quarterback and 2022 NFL Draft prospect Chris Oladokun knows well. “You go through three schools and a lot of people speculate what happened,” Oladokun said. He started his career off at USF before transferring to Samford and ultimately landing with the Jackrabbits. Oladokun notes the time period when he left Samford for SDSU as a turning point in his career, one where he had more fire under him than ever to prove doubters wrong. “I was back home training and there were some coaches who were reaching out to me saying ‘are you ready to get into coaching?’ Asking me about coaching high school and stuff like that. That made me think ‘man, they sort of don’t believe in me either,’ as if I couldn’t still play,” Oladokun said. “I was always a hard worker and then this past offseason I really just dedicated 100% of everything to being the best version of myself. I really just busted my tail these past 9-10 months to show everyone the type of player I always know I’ve been at every spot.” Playing at three different places, while it may not look advantageous on the outside, actually does have its positives. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder has seen just about everything the game of football has to offer, playing in a simple Air Raid scheme, being in an up-tempo offense, and playing in a more complex offense. “I’ve played in a lot of different systems so I definitely have a strong ability to pick up and learn different systems,” Oladokun said. “I’ve played in systems where we threw the ball 60 times per game and systems like this past year when I played in a pro-style offense. Obviously, that’s more geared toward the league.” In every situation he was in over the course of his college career, Oladokun took command both as a player and as a person, establishing himself as a leadership figure in each landing spot. That’s something he’s confident will carry over well from an intangibles perspective to the next level. “My experience as a team captain and being a leader at every school I was at is something that was something that was not only important to me but is something that’s of a lot of value at the quarterback position that teams want to see,” Oladokun said. Oladokun’s responsibilities at the line of scrimmage have varied from place to place, as would be expected for a player who is going into a different system than the one they originally came from. “Coming from USF and Samford we didn’t really mess with the offensive line at all, they had their own calls because we were going so fast in a no-huddle offense,” Oladokun said. “Then going to South Dakota State, we’re huddling up every play, I’m having to control the clock and figure out things like that. At the line of scrimmage, I did have the freedom to slide protections and get us in the best possible play, so they were good things for me to learn and progressively get better at during the season.” Despite some of the sharp differences, Oladokun didn’t find the transition to any one place to be particularly rough. It’s not that it was necessarily an easy jump to make, but it’s one that didn’t phase him because of his commitment and work ethic. He says he had South Dakota State’s playbook down by the first day of camp after getting there in June. “For me, it’s a lot of visualizing things with the plays in the system and then going out there and doing it,” Oladokun said. “That was my approach all summer. I was studying the playbook probably 3-4 hours per day and really beating it into my brain and getting those mental reps in. And then getting out with those guys on the field, because they were teaching things you couldn’t just learn on paper.” What the Jackrabbits were doing schematically wasn’t much at all like what high-flying Samford had going on, but it made Oladokun a better player mentally. “The Air Raid system can be complex, but it’s still probably the simplest system,” Oladokun said. “My experiences definitely pushed me and I found new ways and strategies to study playbooks.” Oladokun, largely considered a combine snub ahead of the draft, did indeed find ways to succeed at SDSU, putting a solid 2021 season in the books in which he completed 62% of his passes for 3,164 yards with 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions on 384 passing attempts. He helped lead the team to 11 wins and an appearance in the FCS Championship semifinals where the Jackrabbits dropped, 31-17 to Tommy Mellott and the Montana State Bobcats. It was still a solid game for Oladokun, though, who completed just under 66% of his passes for 315 yards, his second-highest total of the season (358). The signal-caller is confident in what he’s put on film, and he’s impressed scouts with his arm strength, accuracy, and mobility. He brings a versatile skill set to the table and should be able to fit in with a number of teams who want to take a quarterback late or after the draft. He’s shown he can throw deep passes with touch as shown above, and there’s something Malik Willis-esque about this. Oladokun is confident in how he’ll fit in with what he feels the modern NFL is looking for. “When you watch my film, I feel like people can see me making plays outside of the pocket and extending plays, avoiding the rush,” Oladokun said. “I think those are things that are my best assets. Quarterbacks, especially with where the NFL is trending, teams really want guys who are mobile that can get away from the rush. Those guys on the defensive line just like we saw in the Super Bowl—they’re big and they’re fast and they can control the game. But at the same time, I don’t necessarily think a lot of people notice how well I can also stand in the pocket and stick in and make the plays as a dropback passer as well with pressure in my face and still finding guys deep down the field. “That’s something I take a lot of pride in—being accurate and winning from the pocket.” He’s keeping his head down and continuing to put in the work for now, as has been the story for him for so many years. Oladokun’s next opportunity to get in front of scouts after playing in the NFLPA Bowl will be on his pro day, which he’s been preparing for his whole life. “Right now, I’m working on my pro day script and getting my technique down,” Oladokun said. “When it comes to technique, I’ve been working with the same quarterback coach since I was 10 years old which really benefits me. We’ve gone through these things my whole career and we’ve talked about pro day and preparing for it since I was in high school. I think we have a good plan going into it and at this point it’s just fine-tuning the little details.

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Crissy Froyd