Growing up, Stony Brook Football senior defensive lineman Victor Ochi watched the National Football League Scouting Combine, where the best prospective draftees are invited every spring to showcase their talents.
Ochi remembered 2014 No. 1 draft pick Jadeveon Clowney’s position-leading 40-yard dash and Byron Jones, who was chosen 27th overall, setting a world record in the broad jump at the combine.
This weekend, it was Ochi’s turn to perform under the spotlight, as the Valley Stream native became the second Seawolves player to participate in the combine after Miguel Maysonet did so in 2013, as he seeks to become the first to earn a selection in the NFL Draft. Nobody needed to tell him that he has an opportunity to make school history.
“Knowing that my mission is really not done,” said Ochi of what pushes him to continue working hard. “I’m not the one to be satisfied. I know there’s a whole lot of football ahead of me, my best years are ahead of me. That’s not going to come just sitting around and just moping around. I’ve got to get to work.”
While Ochi came nowhere near Jones’ record 145-inch broad jump, he tied for eighth place out of 53 participating defensive linemen with a 119-inch leap.
That was not the only exercise in which the Stony Brook player stood out, though. Ochi placed toward the top of most of the drills he partook in on Saturday. He clocked 4.85 and 4.86 second 40-yard dash times, a 7.24 second three-cone drill, a 32-inch vertical jump and a 4.40 second 20-yard shuttle.
Ochi did not complete the bench press exercise on Saturday, with multiple reports saying that he sat out of the drill due to slight shoulder soreness, although he will do so at Stony Brook’s Pro Day at the end of March.
“I used to watch it on TV. It’s crazy being a part of it,” Ochi said of being selected to participate in the combine. “It’s definitely a blessing that people are starting to pay attention to what Stony Brook has produced.”
Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN’s NFL Draft analyst, had high praise for Ochi and his future as a professional football player.
“Goes to Stony Brook off the radar, all he’s doing is sacking quarterbacks, getting after the signal-caller. All-star game, impactful player,” Kiper Jr. said on SportsCenter last week. “Somebody’s going to get Victor Ochi third round and is going to have themselves a heck of a player getting after the quarterback.”
This season, Ochi did plenty to draw attention to himself. The lineman was named the Colonial Athletic Association Co-Defensive Player of the Year, a STATS Football Championship Subdivision All-American, and also earned a spot in the East-West Shrine Game. In that all-star game, Ochi recorded a sack and four total tackles.
Ochi appreciates the praise that he has received from analysts, but he said that he did not need the recognition to push him ahead of the NFL Draft, which will take place from April 28 to April 30 in Chicago.
“I’m pretty self-motivated whether he said something about me or not. I was going to put my work in. I’ve worked very hard to get to this point in my life and I’m not going to stop now,” Ochi said. “I couldn’t stop now. I’m definitely going all out with this.”