Owusu Taking All Things Into Account

Oaks Christian High School wide receiver Chris Owusu received his first scholarship offer from BYU. Since that day many other D1 colleges have followed suit.

Oaks Christian High School wide receiver Chris Owusu may be getting a lesson in college recruiting from various parts of the country, but being the son of a father who is originally from West Africa and a mother from the islands of Samoa, Owusu knows quite a bit about various cultures and languages.

"Yeah, I am half Polynesian," Owusu said. "My dad is from Ghana in West African and my mother is from Samoa. I think my mom is from Pango Pango. I can understand it when she talks to me but I don't really speak the language. I do speak some Spanish though."

On top of his various cultural understandings, Owusu can teach a few lessons as well. Last season as a junior in high school, Owusu taught defenses a few lessons on how to get open.

"I had 33 catches, 770 yards and 10 touchdowns," Owusu said. "I'm around 6'2" or 6'3" and I weigh 185."

Now he receives many letters and has secured a few scholarship in hand.

"Right now Notre Dame is looking at me and they sent me a couple of text messages," said Owusu. "Notre Dame is looking at me and Michigan, Stanford, Virginia, Mississippi, Duke, Washington, UNLV and BYU are all looking at me. Washington just offered me and Florida is also looking at me too. They've sent me a lot of mail."

The first school that popped on the scene to offer Owusu a full ride scholarship was Brigham Young University.

"The first school to offer me a scholarship was BYU," Owusu said. "I think they offered me around a month or two ago.

So what did the coaches of BYU see in Owusu that made them want to extend an early scholarship offer?

"I think they saw me as a playmaker," said Owusu. "I think they saw someone who could catch the short passes and turn them into long gains and be able to break tackles. I think they saw me as a wide receiver that could run and catch the ball well."

Owusu was able to catch a few Cougar games last year and learned of their pounding of the Oregon Ducks on SportsCenter.

"I followed them a little bit last year and any game that was on TV," Owusu said. "I followed them that way and I saw a couple of their games and they did well. Oh, I saw that they had beaten Oregon 38 to 8 on SportsCenter. They definitely like to throw the ball and stuff."

"I think they're a great school and their coaches are great. They're the ones that have been contacting me so far and they're really nice. They seem like they're going to do really well this season, so I'm going to catch up on them and do a little more reading on them."

When an athlete receives his first offer from a big time college program, his realization that he'll be able to continue his football career becomes an exciting one. When Owusu received his first offer from BYU, Owusu was grateful and did some research online.

"My initial reaction was to thank God," said Owusu. "Not everyone gets an offer to great schools and I was glad I got my first offer. When that happens your first thought is maybe I'll get more. BYU was my first offer and I was definitely excited about that. Once BYU's first offer came in I was really excited, and I was glad it happened but I was hoping other offers would came in too."

"After BYU offered I definitely hopped online and tried to learn a little bit more about their head coach. I tried to learn about their school and what it's all about, and I checked out Rivals and Scout to see who they were recruiting and all that. It definitely made me a little more aware that I was being recruited and that I should check things out more. It definitely made me more aware that I needed to check things out on my end more to see what's happening."

So what did he learn in his personal efforts to find out more about BYU?

"Well, I learned they're a Mormon school," said Owusu. "I also learned they take athletes that aren't just Mormon but other Christian people as well. There aren't just Mormon people on campus like most people think there are. They're open to everyone."

BYU's campus standards and the Christian lifestyle that is fostered and nurtured within their football program is something that is attractive to Owusu.

"I'm Christian myself," said Owusu. "It's definitely attractive to me. A program that, and not just the program but the whole school, really tries to build character plays a big part. I definitely see myself as a disciplined person who will listen to all of the coaches and is willing to be taught rather than just go out there and do his own thing. It's definitely attractive to me to want to go to a program that will teach you to do your best."

One aspect of the college programs that Owusu will be looking at is the direction the program is going, and the influential aspects the coaches have in personal development.

"College is definitely one of the biggest things in someone's life," said Owusu. "I definitely see the influences of football coaches as being a part of the college experience. I don't want to go to a place where they feel they might not win and have that mentality. I want to go to a college where the coaches want to win, and if they aren't winning that they have the enthusiasm to win and teach. I really see the coaches as being a really big part of the college experience.

"I think it's important to find that right coach that you can have that great relationship with. You don't want to go to a college where maybe the coach isn't the best coach for you, so definitely the college coach plays a big part in your college experience. I want a coach that can not only help me through the college experience but definitely after college life.

"I want a coach that can teach me how to be a better person and not just a better football player. I see that the best coaches are the ones that not only try to make their players better at what they're supposed to do as football players, but the ones that can get them ready for life and show them what's best for them in the future. The best coaches teach you how to become better athletes and better players."

So in reflection, which programs and coaches does Owusu feel have so far fit the bill?

"I really feel that Notre Dame, Michigan and the coaches from those big time programs really have great coaching staffs that will listen to you and make you a winner," said Owusu. "I really think that's the key aspect. I think you want to go somewhere where they will make you a winner. I think this something that would be a good fit for me. I want to go to a program where I know I can do something. I think football is a big part of that. Going to a good football program where you can do something big and win football games I think will carry on through life.

"So definitely Michigan, Notre Dame and I've been talking with Stanford and the coaches over there. I know they're a program that had a bad season and went 1-11 and whatnot. I know they have a whole knew coaching staff. I can tell Coach Harbaugh is a winner and Coach Weis from Notre Dame are all great coaches. I think Florida's head coach is a great head coach too, so I like those coaches that definitely want to win and I know they'll influence me."

Knowing the decision on where to play football will be an important one, Owusu has listed two top important factors that will influence his decision on where to play.

"I definitely feel football is number one," Owusu said. "I think it's a really big part of what I want to do. Ever since I started playing I fell in love with the game, and I want to play on a team that will win games and be on a team that will win championships. I definitely want to go and play on a team that will help me fulfill my dreams. I definitely want to go somewhere big. I want to go to a big time program that will possibly help me go beyond college football, but I'm not just looking just at football. I'm also looking at academics which will play a big part.

"I kind of put the environment or the people around you and academics as number two. You may go to a place where they have great football but the people around you don't really like you or you like them. I think atmosphere is definitely a big part because you're going there for four or five years. I mean, you don't want to go to a place where you're going to hate it.

"Maybe you go to a place where they have great football and great academics but the atmosphere sucks, so I really feel that atmosphere and education really go hand in hand. I think you can get a great education when you have a great atmosphere and can get along with the teachers, coaches and feel like you belong. So I feel football is number one and then number two is academics and atmosphere."

While Owusu sifts through the many colleges that have shown recent interest, another aspect that will weigh in his decision will be what his opportunities are.

"With me being a person that wants to play, I definitely feel that playing time will be a big factor," said Owusu. "I really want to go to a college and be a really big impact type player where ever I go. Wherever I go I'll definitely see about playing and try to be an impact player to help that program win like a Reggie Bush or a Dwayne Jarrett. I just want to dream big and be the best football player I can."

However, at universities that recruit many nationally top quality athletes the chances of being the next Reggie Bush are far and few between. For every Reggie Bush or Dwayne Jarrett, there are four or five guys riding the bench hoping for an opportunity.

"I know that I can go some place and make an impact," Owusu said. "I do want to go to a place where I can play a lot and just help my team out. I don't want to sit on the bench for three years. I would definitely look around at what colleges need me and how I can fit in there."

Knowing he wants to be a team player where he can help contribute to the overall success of which ever program he chooses, would Owusu rather sacrifice playing time to attend a "big time program?" Or would he rather attend a winning program where he could make a big time impact with more playing time?

"That's a hard question," Owusu said. "I definitely need to think about this one. I'll definitely go into a program thinking I can win this spot, but if I have to sit the bench then I guess I'll wait out the years. I'll just keep practicing hard, but I definitely want to screen out the colleges where I can go in and make a big impact. I definitely also want to see those colleges where I might not play a lot in the beginning, but I also want to look at those colleges where I can make a big impact early."


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