It wasn’t just Bart Houston that found a home in the NFL this week.
Initial reports indicated Ogunbowale would sign with the AFC South organization, but the Milwaukee native wasn’t seen on Houston’s list of undrafted free agents last Friday, which led to confusion.
Yesterday, the signing was official, with the Texans also released former LSU running back—one of four players let go yesterday to make room for Ogunbowale and three others. There are now six running backs currently on Houston’s roster, including third-round draft pick D’Onta Foreman.
Here’s more on Ogunbowale’s path to the NFL from our initial report on him signing with Houston from NFL Draft weekend:
Ogunbowale’s story is a prime example of a walk-on making the most of his opportunity—ending his career with 49 games played, 1,518 yards and 13 rushing touchdown.
Originally called into 2012 summer camp in August, he worked his way up into a reserve defensive back role until he was approached early during the 2014 season by then-head coach Gary Andersen to play tailback behind Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement.
Under head coach Paul Chryst and his offensive system, Ogunbowale’s production jumped substantially in his final two years. In 2015, he started 10 of Wisconsin’s 13 games, leading the team in rushing with 819 yards and seven touchdowns with Clement injured for most of the year.
Though it was a rebuilding year with the offensive line young and using seven different combinations, the Milwaukee native recorded three 100-yard games, with a career-best 155 yards at Minnesota to end the regular season.
Last season with Clement returning and gaining the bulk of carries, he gained 506 yards on only 91 carries and five touchdowns. That included two 100-yard games in wins against Nebraska (120 on 11 carries) and Illinois (103 on seven).
Ogunbowale demonstrated an agility and quickness that was lethal out in the open field, especially in the passing game. He caught 60 career passes for 507 yards with two touchdowns, while also being a reliable third-down back in blocking situations.
Off the field, Ogunbowale was honored as team captain prior to the 2016 season, and was selected to give the student-athlete speech during the Big Ten Football Kickoff Luncheon in Chicago in July. He also plays a mean piano.
Ogunbowale, who earned a scholarship prior to the start of the 2015 season, accepted invites to the East-West Shrine Game in mid-January and the NFL Scouting Combine in late February. His 6.99 second three-cone drill earned him “Top Performer” status for his position group in Indianapolis.
At Wisconsin’s Pro Day on March 15, Ogunbowale also improved his 40-yard dash time to 4.58 second from 4.65, along with reducing his 20-yard shuttle to 4.22 seconds from 4.34.