A former Pickerington High School North standout who was a finalist for Ohio's Mr. Football award as a senior in 2012, Godwin Igwebuike has completed his career at Northwestern University.

But while his college eligibility has ended, his time in the sport likely hasn't.

A four-year regular at Northwestern who helped the Wildcats go 27-12 and post two bowl victories over his final three seasons, Igwebuike may be the central Ohio player with the best chance of being selected in this year's NFL draft, which takes place Thursday, April 26, through Saturday, April 28.

"I've shown through (the draft) process that when I want something, I'm committed to getting it," Igwebuike said. "I really try to lock in."

The biggest question surrounding Igwebuike, who graduated with a degree in learning and organizational change, is what position fits him best.

A second-team all-Big Ten Conference honoree as a senior when he had 78 tackles, two interceptions and nine pass breakups, the 6-foot, 205-pound Igwebuike saw action at both free safety and strong safety for the Wildcats.

According to his profile on NFL.com, he is projected to be taken in the third or fourth round and, as of last week, had a prospect grade of 5.63, which means he could develop into an NFL starter.

During the NFL combine held Feb. 27 through March 5 in Indianapolis, Igwebuike finished fifth among safeties in the 40-yard run (4.44 seconds) and first in the 60 shuttle (10.81).

He has remained in Illinois for much of the winter to train with Northwestern teammates Justin Jackson and Tyler Lancaster.

Statistically, Igwebuike's best season with the Wildcats was 2016, when he had 108 tackles, six tackles for loss, two interceptions and seven pass deflections.

A standout on both sides of the ball for North, he had 29 touchdowns at running back and five interceptions as a defensive back as a senior when the Panthers went 12-2 and reached a Division I state semifinal.

"(The combine) went really well," Igwebuike said. "I raised a lot of eyebrows. I tested really well and was in the top five in a lot of categories for safeties. I ran a good time, so that was a big relief.

"You can't control any of (the draft projections). I like to focus on what I can control. You do a lot of interviews with scouts, and once you move on to the combine, you do more interviews and get to know a lot of people."

Among the other players from central Ohio who are hoping for an NFL career are 2013 Rey-noldsburg graduate Emmanuel Beal and 2013 Hartley graduate Ja'Wuan Woodley.

Beal, a 6-0, 218-pound linebacker, played his first two collegiate seasons at Lackawanna, a community college in Pennsylvania, and the past two at Oklahoma. The Sooners finished 12-2 last season, losing to Georgia 54-48 in two overtimes in the Rose Bowl in a national semifinal.

Beal, who had 95 tackles and seven tackles for loss last season, likely will be a late-round selection or sign as an undrafted free agent.

"After my pro day, I've been pretty much working out, hitting the weight room and doing position drills," Beal said. "I haven't gotten as many calls as I expected, but now it's wait and see what happens. I ran a 4.45 in the 40 (at the combine) and I thought that would get my foot in the door, but it's about being patient."

Beal is graduating in May with a degree in communications.

"Everybody says I've got the body of a safety," he said. "I played defensive end my whole life and (Oklahoma) moved me to outside linebacker my senior year. I don't know what teams see me as, but I see myself as an inside linebacker and I've trained with safeties and corners."

At 5-11, 228 pounds, Woodley is considered small for an outside linebacker and figures to have an opportunity to sign as a free agent after the draft.

After helping Hartley reach a Division IV state semifinal as a senior in 2012, Woodley recorded 79 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks while making third-team all-Mid-American Conference for Toledo as a junior. As a senior last fall, he had 66 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, two fumble recoveries and an interception as the Rockets finished 11-3.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek