Measurements: Six foot four, 246 pounds
Hometown: Cedar Grove, New Jersey
High School: David Njoku attended Cedar Grove High School in New Jersey, where his career stat line was 76 receptions for 1,794 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Miami’s football program has been a factory in churning out NFL-caliber tight ends. One just needs to look at alumni such as Bubba Franks, Jeremy Shockey, and Kellen Winslow II and current players such as Greg Olsen and Jimmy Graham to see this is true. It would have been hard to compare Njoku to members of that group when he arrived at Coral Gables. Having lit up the competition in New Jersey, the tight end was trying to find his position, having played both as a wide receiver and tight end, according to his 247 Sports recruiting profile.
Having received a redshirt his first year on campus, Njoku bulked up for his sophomore season. Previous starting tight end Clive Walford, having graduated and set off to the NFL, left a void in the lineup. Njoku battled to be atop the depth chart throughout the 2015 season. His first start came against Clemson in what would ultimately go down as the worst loss in program history. Njoku’s first career touchdown was in November against the Virginia Cavaliers in the ninth game of the season. Njoku finished the season with 21 receptions for 362 receiving yards, good enough for the fourth-highest total on the team after 13 games.
After former head coach Al Golden and offensive coordinator James Coley were let go, Mark Richt came in with his own offensive philosophy, wanting to take over the play calling for himself. It remained to be seen how the regime change would affect the roster.
Njoku thrived with a new offense in place, playing in all 13 games in 2016, with five of those games counting as official starts. Whether it was his six receptions for 86 yards in a win against Pitt, or his two receptions for 134 yards and two touchdowns against Duke, Njoku found ways to astound and amaze. He finished the 2016 season with 43 receptions for 698 receiving yards, eight touchdowns, and a 53.7 yards per game average.
Due to his great performance in 2016, his athleticism, and his All-Pro potential, Njoku decided to forgo his redshirt junior season and enter his name for the 2017 NFL draft. Given the hype around Njoku at this point in the evaluation process, it’s safe to say he drew favorable projections before officially declaring.
Njoku was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, where his freakish athleticism was displayed for everyone to see. Recognized as among the best overall performers in Indianapolis (regardless of position)—with a 37.5 vertical leap, a 6.97 broad jump, 21 reps on the bench and a 4.64 40-yard dash—Njoku had a solid performance during the tight end field work.
It would have been easy for Njoku to sit on his numbers from the Combine at Miami’s Pro Day. However, he decided to highlight the type of competitor he’s been throughout his career, besting his 40-yard time from earlier in the month (4.49) and going through drills that he previously completed to confirm his athleticism.
Best Game Film
Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Miami Hurricanes, November 05, 2016
The ‘Canes tight end hauled in six receptions for 86 yards and two touchdowns against the Pitt defense.
- A national high-jump champion in high school
- Competed on Miami’s track and field team
- Loves to meditate
- Averaged 11.2 yards per reception after the catch (Pro Football Focus)
- Njoku’s family background is Nigerian
- Has eight siblings, who range in occupation from a doctor, a nurse, to a future wide receiver
“An alpha attitude and mindset on the field make Njoku a leader in the locker room. He can get outside and up front as an aggressive blocker in the run game. Perhaps the best quality—Njoku treats every catch and run like it's his last and will excel with scripted touches in the pros.”
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report
“Highpoints and plays in the clouds with his leaping skills (national champion high jumper in high school and also competed on the Hurricanes track and field team). Mixes it up as a blocker, flashing a mean streak. Smooth shuffle to shield rushers from the pocket in pass pro.”
Dane Brugler, CBS Sports
“Tremendous acceleration out of breaks to separate and widen the window for quarterbacks. Opens the throttle in open field. When he catches it on the move, the YAC yards can become an avalanche.”
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
David Njoku came to Miami with people wondering where he would fit in the offense. After three seasons, he leaves with the expectation that he’ll continue in the footsteps of the Hurricane tight end greats before him. He won’t leave with a stat line that analytical fans will trumpet; regardless, there is a strong belief that he will have a better NFL career than what he put together in college. He is blessed with the athleticism to run and elude defenders with the ball in his hands or to use his strength to run over a defender on the next play. He performs adequately as an in-line blocker who doesn’t merely go through the motions until the ball comes his way. At the age of 20, David Njoku has plenty of room for growth as a player who has just begun to tap into how dominant he can be. David Njoku is the total package at tight end.