Three Former 49ers To Start in NFL Playoff’s Wild Card Weekend

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Charlotte, N.C. – A trio of Charlotte 49ers standouts will be in starting lineups as the NFL Playoffs begin with Wild Card Weekend, Saturday and Sunday.

One game, Cleveland at Pittsburgh (Sun., Jan. 10 at 8:15 p.m., NBC), will feature former 49ers defensive standouts Larry Ogunjobi and Alex Highsmith on opposite sidelines while Nate Davis will be on the offensive line as his Tennessee Titans host Baltimore (Sun., Jan. 10 at 1:05 p.m., ESPN/ABC).

Ogunjobi, the first 49ers player to be drafted by the NFL, will continue in his starting role as defensive tackle for the Cleveland Browns as they travel to Pittsburgh. Highsmith, the first 49ers player to be named all-America, is starting as an outside linebacker for the Steelers.

The two, who are among the most decorated 49ers in the program’s short history, rank 1-2 all-time for the 49ers in sacks and tackles for loss (TFL). In 2019, Highsmith was named second-team all-America by Sports Illustrated and third-team all-America by AP and Pro Football Focus. He was a first team all-Conference USA choice in 2018 and 2019.  Ogunjobi earned first team all-C-USA honors in 2016, the first 49er to do so, and started all 46 games in his four-year career. Highsmith holds the 49ers career sacks record with 21.0 while Ogunjobi posted 13.0. Ogunjobi owns the career record with 49.0 TFL while Highsmith recorded 46.0.

Alex Highsmith: Courtesy of Charlotte 49ers Athletics

Davis, who earned all-Conference USA honors for three straight years, will anchor the Tennessee Titans’ productive offensive line as they host Baltimore.

Davis was a four-year starter for the 49ers that opened holes for the likes of all-time leading rushers Kalif Phillips and Benny LeMay. Sunday, he will continue to work on behalf of the Titans’ 2,000-yard rusher Derrick Henry. Davis was named second team all-C-USA in 2018 and earned honorable mention in 2016 and 2017.

Davis started all three playoff games as a rookie as the Titans advanced to the AFC Championship game in 2019.  Ogunjobi will be making the first playoff appearance of his four-year career with the Browns while Highsmith, a rookie for the Steelers, will also make his first playoff appearance.

Ogunjobi has started the 15 games he played for the Browns, this year, recording 46 tackles, 5 TFL and 2.5 sacks. In his four-year career he has played in 60 games with 47 starts. He has 180 career tackles with 29 TFL and 14.5 sacks.

Highsmith has started each of the last five games for the Steelers and played in all 16 in his first year. He has 48 tackles, this year, with 5 TFL and 2.0 sacks. In the last two games, he has recorded 17 tackles for the Steelers.

Davis has started 28 of 29 games played in his two years with the Titans, including all 16 games in 2020-21. This season, he has played in 100% of the Titans’ offensive snaps.