With the 3rd overall pick in the NFL draft last night, the Detroit Lions selected Ohio State star Jeff Okudah, making him one of the highest defensive backs taken in recent draft history.
See the emotional moment he was drafted last night, plus his emotional story:
One of the big draws of the NFL draft, other than it being one of the only sports-related things to have actually taken place during the quarantine lockdown, is the emotional background stories of the draftees.
Okudah’s is as touching as any, playing for his late mother, Marie, who passed away in 2017 from Lymphoma just six days after he arrived at Ohio State to study and play football.
He wears a bracelet with RIP MOM on one side, and Revelation 21:4 on the other. Revelation 21:4 is a beautiful verse that paints a picture of Heaven. It reads: “and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
He explained to Buckeyextra why he wears the verse from Revelation:
“It talks about in heaven, there’s going to be no pain,” Okudah said. “You don’t have to worry about all the sickness and stuff like that because you’re gone to the next life. It’s more joyous things.”
In January of this year, after declaring for the NFL draft, Jeff penned a touching tribute to his mother in The Players’ Tribune, in which he said everything he wished he could tell her since she’s passed:
But then I think about things some more….. and I realize that maybe I’m not on my own at all. I have Karen, who’s been the best sister I could ask for, and who helps me to keep your memory alive every day. She lives in California now — but we’ve grown so much closer over the last couple of years.
I have Aunt Jane, who’s brought so much sanity into my life whenever things have threatened to spiral out of control. You knew exactly what you were doing by leaving me and Karen in her care. Thank you.
I have all of my brothers from this amazing football team, no matter where they end up over the coming years. I’ll have Coach Hafley, up in Boston, and Coach Schiano, up in Jersey. I’ll have my entire Buckeye family — both back in Columbus, and around the Nation.
And I still have you, Mom.
Maybe I can’t reach out and hug you. Maybe I can’t call you up and talk to you about life, or classes, or about how such and such should have been a touchdown, and are these refs blind?! Maybe I won’t be able to have you there physically, sitting by my side, holding my hand on Draft Day in a new dress that we just bought.
But you’re still here. You’ve always been here. You were here when I was trying to figure out life as a new student in those first few months after you passed. You were here when I was mapping out my goals as a defensive back with Coach Coombs on that board. You were here when I was welcoming this new coach of ours, Coach Hafley, with an open mind. You were here with me all season long, from the first practice to the last whistle, as I played the best football of my career. You were here for me after we lost in the semis to Clemson, in a game I wanted so bad — and thought we were good enough to win. You were here with me as I sat down to write this letter.
Despite all the pain and sorrow that comes along with the loss of a parent, we always have hope in our future on the other side of eternity. The verses this young man wears from Revelation remind us that there will one day be no more tears, no more sorrow, no more pain. Praise God for that!