Oklahoma's Asamoah, Michigan State's Arcuri give central Ohio two picks in NFL draft

Oklahoma linebacker Brian Asamoah (24), a DeSales graduate, was picked in the third round of the NFL draft (No. 66 overall) by the Minnesota Vikings.

Brian Asamoah was confident enough that he’d be selected in the second or third round of the NFL draft April 29 that he held a party in anticipation of being picked that night. 

A.J. Arcuri wasn’t sure if he’d be selected anywhere in the seven rounds after not being ranked among the hundreds of players who received a pre-draft grade on NFL.com, but he, too, thought there was a decent chance his name would be called by the time the three-day draft ended April 30.

The hopes of those two former central Ohio high school football players were met, as Asamoah was picked in the third round (No. 66 overall) by the Minnesota Vikings and Arcuri was selected in the seventh round with the next-to-last pick (No. 261 overall) by the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams. 

Buckeye Extra:Ohio State football takeaways from the 2022 NFL draft

Asamoah, a 2018 DeSales graduate who starred at linebacker and running back at the prep level, is a 6-foot-1, 228-pounder who calls himself a “new generation three-down linebacker” who could line up on the weak side or in the middle. 

He was a Butkus Award semifinalist as a redshirt junior in 2021, when he also was named second-team all-Big 12 by both the league’s coaches and media. Asamoah finished with 90 tackles while also tallying four tackles for loss, one sack and two forced fumbles. 

Asamoah was the highest pick from central Ohio since Pickerington Central and Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton was selected at No. 28 in 2017 by the Dallas Cowboys. 

Asamoah helped Oklahoma finish 11-2 last season, beating Oregon 47-32 in the Alamo Bowl. 

“He had a nice year and was one of the leaders on the defense,” DeSales coach Ryan Wiggins said. “Brian’s got so many tools and he showed more flashes with us and Oklahoma. I still believe he’s got (some of his best) football ahead of him.” 

Michigan State offensive tackle A.J. Arcuri (76), an Olentangy Liberty graduate, was selected in the seventh round of the NFL draft (No. 261 overall) by the Los Angeles Rams.

Arcuri is a 6-7, 312-pound offensive lineman who graduated from Olentangy Liberty in 2016. 

A four-year letterwinner for Michigan State who started 25 games and played in 40, he expects to line up at either tackle spot when he heads to Los Angeles later this month. 

“I was talking with a few people on (the Rams’) staff and their offensive line coach, so we’d been in contact earlier in the week, but obviously nothing is guaranteed,” Arcuri said. “I think I had a decent pro day (March 16) and I had gone on visits and Zoom calls with a few different teams, so I think a lot of it is just under the radar where the public wouldn’t really know how much interest there was in me.” 

A five-time academic all-Big Ten honoree, Arcuri earned a bachelor’s degree in 2020 in packaging and is close to completing his master’s degree in the same field.  

The Spartans went 11-2 last season as Arcuri started every game. They beat Pittsburgh 31-21 in the Peach Bowl.

Arcuri was selected to play in both the 2022 NFLPA Collegiate All-Star Game and the Hula Bowl. 

“I was very thankful I had the opportunity to play at Michigan State and felt like it was a great experience,” he said. “There’s a handful of things I’d like to work on and improve on. My overall technique and hand placement would be the biggest areas that I’d like to excel at and improve on.” 

julrey@thisweeknews.com 

@UlreyThisWeek