Standing 6'6" and weighing in at over 300 lbs., you might think it hard for someone to go unnoticed. Such has been the case, however, for Stockdale offensive lineman, Ben Ossai. That's taking into account the fact that his team went all the way to the Division 1 finals, dropping the championship game to Clovis West.
Recognition or the lack of it doesn't bother Ossai as his physical presence belies the person inside. "The attention doesn't matter to me." Ben said. "I just like to do my thing and if we win as a team, that's what I care about."
Modesty, mild-mannered – all could be things that someone might say of Ossai off the field or even on the sideline during a game, but even he'll admit that once the cleats cross the white line, another side comes out. "I guess you could call it the mean side." Ossai said. "On the sidelines, I am joking around or just talking to guys, but once you are on the field, you have to be a lot more aggressive."
Aggressive, yes, but to talk to Ossai, he'd make a one-on-one pile-driving block on a defender that brings the crowd to their feet, sound as if he had just walked across the street. "If you get a chance at a block like that, I like to knock them down pretty good." He said. "Sometimes they will talk to you, so you knock them down and then talk back to them."
When it comes to knocking them down, Ossai comes ready, his background in other sports giving him a handle on handling the other guy. Ranking as the league champion last year in wrestling, there is one thing this young man is good at is finishing once he gets started. For that, he says it's not about being mean, it's about being determined to get the job done. "Yeah, it's like you are just out there doing your job." He said. "I don't know if I get all caught up in that nasty-thing or whatever, because I figure if I am knocking my guy down every time or he doesn't get to the quarterback, I did ok."
Better than ok, or at least, offensive line coach, Dennis Wagner must think so as Ossai has been his host and now is scheduled to officially visit. Ben will admit that even now he doesn't know much about Nebraska, but likes what he's learned thus far. "Well, I know where it is now." Ossai joked. "I've learned a lot about their academics, the kind of fans they have and the fact that other than that, there's nothing else in the state."
That's particularly inviting to Ossai as being a resident of California, take your pick of whatever sport and there's probably a pro-team nearby. At Nebraska, it's Nebraska and more about Nebraska. "That's pretty cool, because there's nothing like that here." He said. "To think that the whole state is about just that place, that's pretty interesting."
Wagner's visit along with what he's learned on his own has been enough to prompt a visit to NU, once which he'll take January 14th. It's a visit that he's hoping will go a lot like he expects, because if it does, he knows where he'll be. "I already told coach Wagner that if I like it, that's probably where I will be going." He said. "I know they are waiting for me to visit to offer me in writing, but they said if I am there, the offer will be there to."
"I am just looking to feel comfortable and if I do and everything else is nice, I'll probably commit."
The only other school that's in the mix for Ossai right now is ironically enough, one of Dennis Wagner's old stomping-grounds. Fresno State has been interested in Ossai for awhile. Fresno isn't Nebraska, though, so Ossai is hoping that the feeling he wants to get from the place he could spend the next four years is just what he gets in Lincoln. "I'd guess you want that from anywhere, but Nebraska sounds like a good place."
"It just sounds like a place I'd like to be."