2018 DE/OLB Joseph Ossai (Gabe Brooks / SCOUT)

Big 12, Pac-12 Programs Among Potential Spring Visits for 2018 Edge Defender Joseph Ossai

HOUSTON -- Schools are lining up for edge defender Joseph Ossai, an emerging athletic pass-rusher from Conroe (Texas) Oak Ridge. Scout caught up with Ossai at The Opening Houston regional camp, where he said he plans to check out Big 12 and Pac-12 programs this spring.

Joseph Ossai has become a hot commodity on the recruiting trail in the past few weeks.

The 6-foot-4, 217-pound edge defender from Conroe (Texas) Oak Ridge has seen his offer list balloon to 16 FBS programs, half of which are Power Five conference schools, including BaylorColoradoIowa StateNorthwesternOklahomaTCUTexas Tech, and others.

Ossai has already visited Oklahoma for a junior day event and came away very impressed, he said.

"Man, OU was nice. That new facility, we got to see like a sneak peek," said Ossai, who's recruited by OU assistant Dennis Simmons. "I think I'm going back up there in the spring to check it out after everything is done. It's gonna be nice."

Ossai mentioned TCU, Colorado, Iowa State, Baylor, and Texas Tech as programs that have already offered him that he would like to see at some point this spring. Texas A&M is a program Ossai hopes to hear from at some point this spring.


Zarnell Fitch recruits Ossai for TCU, which is a school Ossai has kept an eye on for some time.

"I've seen them play for years now on TV and they look nice. I like the way they play," Ossai said. "They want me for my speed. Put my hand in the dirt and go get the quarterback. Then maybe some times maybe when they go 3-4 drop me back to outside linebacker."

Ossai said pretty much every school wants him for those roles: play with a hand on the ground when in an even front, then play standing up on the edge in an odd front.

Secondary coach Shadon Brown recruits Ossai for Colorado, which is selling Ossai on the family aspect of the Buffaloes' program.

"They've just told me it's really nice out there and that they're family up there. That's one thing I would like about a college. Academics, the way I feel out there, which is basically how do I feel around these guys?" Ossai said. "And then winning. Those are my three things I'm looking for. The way he pitched it to me it sounded like they really know what they're doing up there, so I just want to go out there and check it out."

Colorado did extremely well recruiting Texas in the 2017 cycle. The Buffs signed seven Texans, including a trio of four-star prospects and four three-star players.

Associated head coach/running game coordinator Louis Ayeni recruits Ossai for Iowa State. He said sharing a similar background has helped him start a good relationship with the Iowa State assistant.

"He's Nigerian and we had a connection," Ossai said. "We've been talking about getting up there because for some reason Nigerians go up there a lot, so they have a Nigerian group up there."

Don't be surprised if other schools soon join the mix for Ossai, who possesses excellent frame potential with good quick-twitch athleticism relative to his projected position. Ossai is quick off the ball and plays with active, violent hands. His ceiling as a pass-rusher is very high.

Ossai is in no hurry to commit, which is smart considering he will get more offers.

"I'm probably taking my time and enjoying my process, but still cutting stuff down. I'm trying to get my top eight or so by the summer or the end of the summer," Ossai said, "that way I can focus in on getting to know the coaches, getting to know the coaches, doing my research and all that."

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