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Q&A With Chris Oladokun: NFLPA Bowl, Unique Path To The Draft, What Separates Him From Other QBs

Chris Oladokun throwing a pass.

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 10: South Florida Bulls quarterback Chris Oladokun (10) looks to pass during the game against the South Florida Bulls and the Cincinnati Bearcats on November 10th 2018, at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, OH. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

There may not be a quarterback in this year's draft class that has handled more adversity than Chris Oladokun.

Oladokun started his collegiate career at South Florida, where he spent two years before transferring to Samford. During his time at Samford, he had 2,064 passing yards, 493 rushing yards and 26 total touchdowns.

Though it might have been considered a risky move, Oladokun's decision to spend his final year of college eligibility at South Dakota State turned out to be a great choice. He took his game to another level, finishing the 2021 season with 3,164 passing yards, 25 touchdown passes and seven interceptions.

Oladokun's production at South Dakota State earned him an invite to the NFLPA Bowl, where he was able to showcase his skills in front of NFL personnel.

We caught up with Chris Oladokun to discuss his journey to get to this point, his experience at the NFLPA Bowl, handling adversity and much more.

The Spun: You’ve had a long college career. When you reflect on your time, what do you think?

Chris Oladokun: It was definitely a wild ride. I was in college for six years. At that point, I could’ve gotten my doctorate. Obviously, I didn’t. There were so many ups and downs. A lot of people thought I would’ve quit or fizzled out, but I’m proud of myself for staying the course and working harder and harder along the way.

The Spun: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned throughout this journey?

CO: I’d say to believe in yourself. I was told that by Quinton Flowers back at USF when I was backing him up. I actually just talked to him today. He said as a Black quarterback you sometimes get the short end of the stick. No matter what the media says, always believe in yourself. That’s something I’ve carried throughout my college career. I have to believe in myself no matter what people say about me.

The Spun: What was your favorite moment from your final season?

CO: I’d say it was the win over North Dakota State. They were the No. 2 team in the country at the time. It’s a huge rivalry game for us. So to get that win in convincing fashion was a good feeling. We dropped a game before that, but the win over North Dakota State gave us a spark heading into the playoffs.

The Spun: You said in an interview: "I’d be lying to you if I didn’t think I was the best quarterback in the class." What traits do you think makes you such an intriguing option?

CO: If you want to talk about the film, you’ll see that I can make throws from any platform or any angle. I don’t turn the ball over a bunch, I’m smart with the ball, and I can extend plays when the pocket brings. Something you can’t see is my leadership off the field. I’ve been a captain at all three schools I’ve been at. Even when I wasn’t the starter, I took that role very seriously. I’ve worked so hard. It’s rare to see a kid transfer three times and get better at each spot. I’m sure adversity will hit me in the NFL as well, but that won’t kill my confidence. It’ll just push me to work harder.

The Spun: How was your experience at the NFLPA Bowl?

CO: It was a great experience. The time you get to spend with NFL coaches and Hall of Famers is so important. It’s the beginning of marketing yourself. It was a great experience. I made a lot of good relationships with guys I’ve played with and played against.

The Spun: Which quarterbacks do you like to study?

CO: Obviously, I like to watch a lot of football. I watch guys like Patrick Mahomes. He makes some crazy throws. How he escapes the pocket and makes defenders miss is so impressive. I also like to watch Kyler Murray and Josh Allen. I love to play the game as dynamic as possible so I like to study those quarterbacks on Sundays.

The Spun: Do you view your running ability as a last resort?

CO: 100 percent. I’m a quarterback for a reason. So if I can sit in the pocket every single play, I’ll gladly do that. That’s where I’m comfortable. Sitting behind a good offensive line like I did this past season makes my job a lot easier. Sure, it helps when you can move and have good legs. But I definitely love carving defenses up from inside the pocket though.

The Spun: Do you feel like you’ll have an advantage heading into the pros because you’ve played in multiple systems?

CO: Definitely. I played in a system at USF that was all about the read option and screen game. Then, we moved over to the Air Raid at Samford. At South Dakota State, we had more of a pro-style approach. I’ve gotten signals, I’ve gotten long play calls. It has definitely helped me with the learning curve. I know there'll be a rookie wall because it’ll be a new experience, but playing in multiple systems should help.

The Spun: What would it mean to you to hear your name called during the draft?

CO: It’d mean everything to me. I think about all the times where no one believed in me and I sat in my room wondering what was next. I’ve bet on myself throughout my career. I have a great inner circle of family and friends. It would be a special day for me and them if I get drafted.

The Spun: What is an NFL team getting in Chris Oladokun?

CO: On the field, they’re getting someone that loves ball, brings a lot of energy, loves to have fun and be a leader. I want to make some dynamic and explosive plays at the next level. Off the field, I’m outgoing, love to connect with the fans, and give back to the community. I want to make people happy. So many people have helped me get to this point. I want to be able to help out others.

South Dakota State quarterback Chris Oladokun, a captain at South Florida, Samford & South Dakota State, has made a strong impression on NFL scouts @NFLPABowl w/ his arm strength, accuracy, mobility, per league sources, and has already met w/ 20 of the 32 NFL teams in attendance

— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) January 25, 2022

">Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network reported that Oladokun made a strong impression on scouts during his time at the NFLPA Bowl.

Oladokun still has more work to do, but there's a lot to like about his leadership skills and arm talent.

You can read more of our interviews with athletes or media stars here.