Last weekend, four-star Salt Lake City (Ut.) Brighton outside linebacker Osa Masina took in a quartet of high-profile West Coast schools. Approaching things with what he says as an open mind, these visits may prove instrumental for Masina down the road.
"I am actually in California, and I am visiting some schools and these schools are kind of showing the most interest," said Masina. "I have visited Cal, Stanford, USC and UCLA on this trip, and those have showed a strong, strong interest. I went out to Michigan, Wisconsin and Notre Dame last year. I loved Michigan. That was a good deal."
These four schools have all offered Masina, who currently holds an offer sheet that is 20 teams deep and continues to grow. With these visits now complete, Masina looks to narrow the scope of his recruitment moving forward.
He already knows of one team that will make the cut.
"I'll start narrowing my list down," said Masina. "I'll start off narrowing it down to ten—maybe seven or eight, but most likely ten. Michigan will definitely be in my top ten."
Despite the distance that stands between the two states, Masina has already made the 1,600—plus mile trip from Utah to Michigan once in the past year. Masina first visited for the Barbecue at the Big House, which was well received and will likely lead to a return trip this summer.
"Yeah, I went to the barbecue. It was a while back, but it went pretty good. I sat down with Hoke and all those guys and had some food. Then I went on the campus tour, facilities tour, and I saw the stadium—and it was a great time with me and my family out there.
"I'm glad I got to meet Coach Hoke. I sat down with Hoke and I had a pretty good talk with him at the barbecue for a while—me and my family. That meant a lot to me. The thing I liked is that coach isn't focused about himself or just his job. He wants to get to know his players and who he is coaching, and that's really important to me. They emphasized family at Michigan and that is a pretty cool thing. That's the special thing about Michigan because it goes a long ways after you graduate, so that's really good."
Once his top ten list is formulated, Masina will have an easier time patching together a schedule and timeline for his recruitment. With a bevy of schools vying for Masina's commitment, the coveted outside linebacker has already thought about what the future holds.
"I have sat down and kind of thought about who I want to play for, and that's why I'm doing these unofficials— to just get around and see them," said Masina. "It's different talking with them over the phone or over text messages or something. That's why I'm on these unofficials, just to see if I could see myself at any of these schools playing ball. You want to be comfortable and you want to know what you're getting into, and I don't know how you can commit somewhere without actually being on the campus."
These visits are coming off a prolific season that earned Masina the ranking of No. 7 outside linebacker in the country. Much of the acclaim from his 2013 season, however, has come on the offensive side of the ball. In addition to his 87 tackles and 4.5 sacks, Masina rushed for 1,683 yards and 26 touchdowns.
"I had a great year, because last year I wasn't able to play as much offense as I would have liked to because my brother was there," said Masina. "He graduated and so this past year I started and ended up getting the MVP for my division. I thought it would be for linebacker but they gave it to me for running back, which was pretty funny."
As a standout at both positions, Masina pictures his future as an outside linebacker.
"On offense I am just a physical, downhill-type runner," said Masina. "I actually did a bunch of wildcat stuff this year, so that was fun. I'm not really a shifty guy because I'm kind of tall, but I'm more of a physical runner.
"On defense I actually played inside linebacker this past year, but I am probably more of a true outside linebacker because I'm more of a stand-up guy coming off the edge. I can make a move on the running back and get the sack, but I played a lot of inside this past year and it was fun handling the run more."
After reaching the state championships last year, Masina is eyeing a repeat performance in 2014. He cites losing a bevy of offensive lineman as a challenge to over come, but he remains optimistic. As for the length of his recruitment, Masina is unsure of whether it will precede or directly follow his senior season.
"I'm not sure, " he said. "I might want to get it over with and change my focus on my season to commit before, but if I can't make a decision by then then I will probably just play through the season, maybe go on five officials and maybe do the that thing, because I'm committed to the Army All-American bowl game."
Masina Names Michigan to Early Top 10
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