Oshiomogho “O.J.” Atogwe is one of the greatest football players to ever come out of the Windsor and Essex County region. He is certainly the one who enjoyed the longest and most successful career at the sport’s highest level of play: the National Football League (NFL).
A gifted multi-sport star while attending W.F. Herman Secondary School, Atogwe was also one of the hardest-working student athletes those who played with and against him ever encountered – both on the field and in the classroom. Atogwe led the Green Griffins to multiple WECSSA football and basketball championships, was league MVP in both sports, and was an OFSAA triple champion as well. Upon graduating at the top of his class, Atogwe accepted a full-ride scholarship to Stanford University in 2000. There, he starred in football and track and field, earning All-Pac 12 football and team co-MVP honours in 2004 and 2005 and captaining the Cardinal football team in his senior year.
After a solid showing at the 2005 NFL combine, Atogwe was selected by the St. Louis Rams in that spring’s NFL Draft. Applying the same work ethic that served him so well at the high school and college level, Atogwe quickly became one of the Rams’ premier special teams players. By his third year, he was the club’s starting free safety. From that point, Atogwe quickly evolved into one of the top free safeties in the NFL, leading the National Football Conference (NFC) in interceptions in 2008 and routinely ranking among his team’s leaders in tackles, interceptions, and fumble recoveries. After six years with the Rams, Atogwe spent time with the Washington Redskins, where he was again among the team leaders in tackles and takeaways. He finished his playing career with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012.
As a youngster, Atogwe dreamed of one day playing in the NFL, which was a rare achievement for a Canadian schoolboy in any era. Having made that dream come true, Oshiomogho Atogwe rightly holds a place among the region’s gridiron greats, and a deserved spot in the Windsor/Essex County Sports Hall of Fame.