Even with the NFL Draft over and the rookie free agency period slowing down, the New England Patriots are not done adding to their team. The latest addition is to their coaching staff: Rod Ojong will join the club through the Bill Walsh Coaching Fellowship.
Ojong arrives via a five-month stint at UNC Charlotte. The 49ers had originally hired him as their defensive backs coach in December, but he is now taking his talents to New England.
“Rod is a wonderful man,” UNC Charlotte head coach Biff Poggi said about Ojong at the time. “Our players are going to love his guidance and the special bonds he forms with young people. He’s an incredibly knowledgeable coach that knows the entire scheme. We are blessed to have Rod.”
Ojong’s move to the Patriots was announced by himself on social media:
Excited to participate in the Bill Walsh Coaching Fellowship with the New England Patriots working with the Defensive Backs. Thank you Coach Belichick & the entire Patriots organization for this opportunity.— Coach Rod Ojong (@CoachOjong) April 30, 2023
Give God All the Glory!! pic.twitter.com/JVV6tjMbha
Ojong’s career started at his alma mater, Monmouth College. A two-year letter winner and team captain as a linebacker, he transitioned to coaching in 2012 and initially served as student assistant linebacker coach.
He left for Lindsey Wilson College in 2013, where he coached outside linebackers and worked as assistant strength and conditioning coach. He later also spent time in various positions at West Georgia (2014), Memphis (2015), North Carolina (2016-17), Austin Peay (2018) and Furman (2019).
In 2020, Ojong made the move to the FBS level: he worked as a defensive analyst on Kirby Smart’s staff with the Georgia Bulldogs. A year later, he left for the University of Buffalo.
The New York native coached safeties in 2021, and defensive backs in 2022. In his final season with the Bulls, Ojong’s unit led the MAC with 12 interceptions and surrendered just 216.2 passing yards per game.
Now in New England via a short stint at Charlotte, Ojong will join a Patriots defensive staff led by de facto co-coordinators Steve Belichick and Jerod Mayo. Through his role as a defensive assistant with a focus on the secondary, he is expected to most closely work with cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino, safeties coach Brian Belichick, and fellow assistant V’Angelo Bentley.
Ojong is the fourth coach added this offseason. The team previously hired Bill O’Brien as its offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, as well as Adrian Klemm and Will Lawing to presumably work with the offensive line and tight ends, respectively.
Traditionally, the Patriots will not announce their full coaching staff until the start of training camp in late July.