"I was standing with a bunch of students, and all of a sudden I saw their eyes get real big," Soles said. "Jonathan had snuck up behind me and was ready to grab my chest and lift me off the ground like a sack of grain."

The day he signed with UCLA, Ogden and three high school teammates - all linemen - celebrated at an all-you-can-eat pizza joint in Georgetown.

"They lost more than a few bucks on us," Akers said. "We just kept eating and talking about what lay ahead."

Between slices, Ogden surmised his future lay with the hometown Redskins.

"I'm going to be a Hog someday," he said.

On to college

At UCLA, he started at offensive tackle for four years, made first-team All-America and won the Outland Trophy as college football's top interior lineman. He also grew an Afro to save money on haircuts and rummaged through local bodegas in search of cheap grub.

"Even after he signed with the Ravens, he was still buying bread at 50 cents a loaf," said Valeyta Alt- house, a track teammate in college. "We were amazed that he could even find bread that cheap."

In the apartment they shared, Bruins safety Paul Guidry often walked in to find Ogden sprawled on the couch with his supper - two pieces of honey wheat bread mooshed together - and watching Jeopardy! as he ticked off the answers.

A spartan meal. Mental calisthenics.

" 'O' didn't think like a guy who was huge," Guidry said.

In college, Ogden loved playing cards so long as he won. Once, he lost $20 while playing spades in his apartment with several teammates. Incensed, Ogden blew up.

"I stood, flipped the table over and walked out," he said. "I was so perturbed. I hate losing. I despise it."

It showed. A history major, he earned a 3.3 GPA while excelling in two sports at UCLA. As a senior, he won the NCAA indoor shot put title in 1996.

"He's a legend in our [track] program," Venegas said. "You always question whether guys who do football and track will have motivation for two sports, but this kid hit the pinnacle in both."

Ogden's low-key nature endeared him to members of the team, Venegas said.

"He didn't come out there with a `watch me' type of attitude," the coach said. "Jonathan respected everyone down to the worst guy on the team."

Venegas rode Ogden mercilessly about his weight - 365 pounds as a freshman - and drove him to lose 75 pounds during that spring.

"I called him a slob, a pig, a giant oaf. I was in his face like a drill sergeant, and he took it," said the coach, who stands 5-9. "If I got on him too hard, he'd give me a funny look, like, 'You're stepping on my toes,' and I'd back off.

"I mean, at 6-foot-9, he could have squashed me like a bug."