East Bay Sleeper Starts Opening Eyes Tonight

We've given you reports on seniors all over the country who have played two or three games already this fall. But several more will kickoff their seasons tonight. You might consider a trip to the East Bay to see Pinole Valley's Wopamo Osaisai start his season against Hogan of Vallejo. This sleeper recruit has a Stanford offer, but September success could bring many more...

Senior cornerback Wopamo Osaisai is a recruit we have been hyping to you all summer, though his recruiting rankings and offers have yet to catch up.  Understandably, there is scarce little data for college coaches with which to work at this time.  He picked up the game of football his freshman year in high school, but even then only as a kicker.  He missed his sophomore year due to injury, which left just the 2002 season for his first on-field experience on defense.  Moreover, he passed on all of the school and invitation camps during this past spring and summer that build many recruits' profiles.

What has caught colleges' attention is his speed, with standout performances in California and national events in the 100m and 200m sprints.  He finished up the summer with a 3rd place finish at the USA Track & Field Junior Olympics in the 100m.

As is often the case with these sleeper recruits, the first games of the fall senior season can affirm the suspected talent laying unrecognized.  This time a year ago, Georgia defensive end Emmanuel Awofadeju was receiving most of his recruiting interest from the likes of Middle Tennessee State and Western Carolina before he "blew up."  The pass rushing phenom was ranked among the tops in the nation at his position by Signing Day, wish heavy pursuit and offers from the likes of Virginia, Maryland and Notre Dame.

As was the case with Awofadeju, Osaisai has been identified early by Stanford.  The Pinole Valley HS sleeper was offered by the Cardinal early this summer, though few schools have been willing to jump on board with the same gusto.  The old Washington "staff" under Rick Neuheisel had stepped up with an offer of their own, though they have backed down their stance after the Keith Gilbertson transition.

With college coaches allowed to start calling senior recruits once a week starting September 1, you might expect a good deal of exploratory interest to come his way, but Osaisai reports on a disappointing reality.  "The only calls I have received are from Washington, Arizona and Stanford.  I guess I'm not that big of a recruit," he says with a mixture of sarcasm and rue.  "I'm kind of disappointed that most coaches are not making the effort to really recruit me, but that's going to change when they see me play.  All I can do is be concerned about my schoolwork and football.  The rest will take care of itself."

"The rest" may begin tonight when Osaisai and his Pinole Valley teammates kickoff their season against Hogan of Vallejo.  "They run a wing-T offense," the cornerback standout reports.  "So there won't be a lot of passing.  My goal is to not allow any passes completed, and make a lot of tackles.  Maybe I can run back a touchdown on a kickoff return, too."

Here is what he had to say about the three schools who have called thus far:

  • Stanford - "I've talked with both Coach Quinn and Coach Teevens.  Coach Teevens says that I know where they stand with me in the whole recruiting thing, so we didn't talk much about that.  We just talked about other football and what's going on with the Stanford season."
  • Washington - "They say they still want to recruit me and have me visit there.  But they aren't coming out and saying that my offer is still there."
  • Arizona - "The coaches are just getting to know me and my family, and trying to setup a visit."

On the Stanford end of things, Osaisai has completed most of his admissions application and is making some headway on his recommendations.  You may remember that layoffs at Pinole Valley last year changed his counselor, which threw a wrench in his plans.  But he says that his new counselor as well as teachers are working on their recommendations, which will soon put in place the final piece for his Stanford application.

Osaisai also took an unofficial visit to Stanford this past weekend, as he checked out the Cardinal's season opener against San Jose State.  Though the game did not start until 7pm, he and his mother arrived several hours earlier for some pre-game festivities.  "We got to join some of the Stanford parents for the pre-game barbecue, and I was able to walk with the players to the field from the locker room," the recruit recalls.  "I stood on the sidelines during warm-ups and then in the stands during the game.  That stuff was pretty normal, but getting to be in the locker room after the game was cool.  Coach Teevens is a great coach, who lets his players do their own thing, but he's there with them every step of the way.  My mom got to talk with a bunch of the Nigerian parents; she really enjoyed it.""


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