Los Angeles Chargers sign Ohio State sprinter Praise Olatoke

The Los Angeles Chargers have signed former Ohio State sprinter Praise Olatoke from the NFL's International Pathway Program (IPP). The IPP Class of 2024 consists of 16 of the top international athletes from around the world. Olatoke was born in Nigeria and raised in Scotland. He was a sprinter at Ohio State, with a best of 10.27 in the 100 meters.

As part of the IPP, Olatoke will not count on the 90-man training camp roster, so he will in effect be a 91st member of the Chargers squad in training camp. If the Chargers decide to keep Olatoke on the practice squad, Olatoke will not count as part of the 16-man practice squad. He will in effect be a 17th member of the practice squad. Olatoke will play wide receiver for the Chargers.

Olatoke ran a 4.36 forty at the IPP Pro Day in March at the University of South Florida. That would have been a top ten time at the NFL Combine in 2024 and at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Olatoke is a promising size-speed prospect. Olatoke did not play college football at Ohio State, and with their talented wide receiver group, would have had a difficult time getting on the field.

Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh got his first coaching job with the Oakland Raiders, where he coached as an offensive assistant and quarterback coach in 2002/2003. Bringing in a player like Olatoke is a Raiders type of move under owner Al Davis, who was always searching for speed wherever it could be found. A good move by the Chargers.

The Chargers also added safety Tony Jefferson, who is coming out of retirement to play for the Chargers. Jefferson played his high school football at Eastlake high school in Chula Vista, California. He played his college football at Oklahoma. In the NFL, Jefferson has stated 67 games, including 35 games with the Ravens over three seasons. Jefferson was the starting safety for the Ravens in their playoff loss to the Chargers in the 2018 season. He had 8 tackles in the game, including one tackle for loss.

Jefferson was going to become a scout with the Baltimore Ravens organization, but apparently decided to return to the game. The Chargers have two good starting safeties in Derwin James and Alohi Gilman, but the depth at safety is questionable.

The move to add Jefferson is an obvious move to plug a potential hole in the secondary and the fact that General Manger Joe Hortiz is familiar with Jefferson from his days with the Ravens helps. It also helps that Chargers defensive coordinator Jesse Minter was a defensive back coach from 2017 through 2019 on the Ravens and coached Jefferson.

 

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