O.J. Oshinowo Interview
I see you excelled at trombone in high school as well as football, playing in the wind symphony and the jazz band. What are your favorite pieces or composers? (Red Banded Hat)
O.J.: I really love all kinds of jazz music, but as far as classical goes, Holst all the way.
Do you plan on finding a musical outlet while at Stanford? (Red Banded Hat)
O.J.: I'll definitely try not to lose the skill. Maybe. I'm not sure just yet.
What ultimately broke the close battle between us and Northwestern to sign you? (Hulk)
O.J.: Ultimately it came down to where I felt the most comfortable. I asked myself "Really where did you feel the best at; where could you see yourself?" That and the stats on the school were tremendous.
Was the IE professor from Nigeria an influence on your decision? (Hulk)
O.J.: Definitely, up until we came in contact with him, I had absolutely no contacts or people I could go to for help which is somewhat necessary in college. He really seems to understand my situation and was most willing to help.
What most surprised you on your visit? (Hulk)
O.J.: I knew that the undergrad enrollment was something around 6500 and when we arrived there, the campus was HUGE. That and all the mountains and hills, which there are none of in Illinois.
What else surprised you about Stanford--the school and the program? (Hulk)
O.J.: How focused the team was. They had fun, but they did well in school. When I first went out in the summer just to tour campus I saw Mike Biselli, Kerry Carter, and Randy Fasani all doing extra work, kicking, catching and throwing. That's the kind of people I'd like to play with. They seemed motivated as a team. Many other schools didn't have that.
When did Stanford first contact you? (Hulk)
O.J.: April of 2000, to tell you the truth the first time I saw "Stanford" I thought, "No way" but my mom urged me to take another look. Good thing I did.
When did they first offer? (Hulk)
O.J.: When we came out to visit in the summer.
When football season began, did you have a leader, and if so, who was it? (Hulk)
O.J.: No not really. I was just happy to have narrowed it down to five.
Do you think you can play and contribute immediately? (Hulk)
O.J.: I think I could contribute immediately. Redshirting would definitely be fine with me though.
What is your current height, weight, & bench press? (Guru)
O.J.: 6' 2.5" 306 lbs. Bench: 455 Squat: 600 J
What is your planned course of study? (Guru)
O.J.: Electrical and Computer Engineering (Computer Systems Engineering)
Have the coaches indicated whether or not they think you'll redshirt? (Guru)
O.J.: My parents and I spoke with Coach Tipton and Coach Willingham about it. I would like to redshirt if possible. The coaches said that it would be a camp-time decision. If I'm needed to play then I'll do everything I need to do to play and be a big contributor to the team.
What is your shoe size? (L'il Birdie)
O.J.: 17-18 depending on the maker. 17 if its Nike.
What positions did you play and what was your favorite??? (L'il Birdie)
O.J.: I played both ways at OL and DT and I definitely liked DT the best.
Did you enjoy the recruiting process? (hmmm)
O.J.: I loved it. It was fun to hang out with so many different players in so many parts of the country.
What's your favorite book? (hmmm)
O.J.: The Bible and Sports Illustrated
What does OJ stand for? (hmmm)
O.J.: Oluwasegun Junior. My full Nigerian name is Babatunde Oluwasegun Temitope Oluwakorede Adisa Oshinowo Jr.
Do you like the outdoors? (hmmm)
O.J.: I like the outdoors but I've never been camping.
Stanford typically recruits against schools where the academic sell is a big difference. Northwestern has the same game. So how did each of the schools talk to you, recognizing that the other school would offer an unusually compelling academic option? Actually, to get to the point, I want to know what Northwestern said and did to recruit against Stanford. (ME-97)
O.J.: The schools that didn't have as good an academic reputation either did one of three things. They either tried to push the excellence of their football program compared to Stanford, make comparisons to the quality of their school versus Stanford, or tried to focus on something that Stanford didn't have. Most things that other schools had that Stanford didn't, I really didn't want (e.g. small town atmosphere or some junk like that). With regards to Northwestern, their recruiting pitch was very similar to that of Stanford. "Great school and great football team". Stanford is ranked higher than Northwestern in quite a few categories so they stayed away from general rankings of schools and focused more on what Northwestern had to offer. In the end they encouraged me to ignore what the rankings said and go with my heart/gut decision. And I did.
What discussions have you had during your recruitment and since then with the coaches about playing on the DL or OL? Do you expect to address that at all when you come out for the Spring Game, or will that wait until August? (ME-97)
O.J.: I informed the coaches that I would much prefer to play DT/NT. They said I would definitely get to play at DT/NT but that they put the best 22 people where they are needed on the field. If I am needed to play OL, I will. I don't think it will be addressed until August but if they feel they need to talk to me about it sooner, that's fine.
Did you talk at all with other Stanford recruits before or after your decision, prior to LOI Day? (ME-97)
O.J.: I did meet with Casey Carroll, Mark Anderson, and J.R. Lemon during official visits at Stanford and G.T. but I didn't contact any of them again until after LOI day.
How did your perception of Stanford change from before your recruitment to now? What did the coaches, Tyrone in particular, do to affect that change? (ME-97)
O.J.: Before my recruitment I honestly thought Stanford was like Harvard and that not many people played sports and that people weren't sociable and were only focused on beating out everyone else for valedictorian. Meeting with Coach Willingham and Coach Tipton and listening to how they felt about the school and the program really gave me an insight into the true attitude of the school. They are the type of coaches who make you want to succeed.
How much did Stanford's trip to the Rose Bowl legitimize the football success at a high level you believe can come for you at Stanford? Minus that achievement, do you think Stanford's recruitment of you would have been less successful? (ME-97)
O.J.: Going to a top rate school is important, but one of the things I was really looking for as well was a football program that was focused on, and had experienced, success. Stanford's trip to the Rose Bowl was an important factor in my mind. They could compete and win. It would have been a harder decision without that.