Visits Heating Up For Osaisai

I won't lie to you - the recruiting story of Wopamo Osaisai has been one of my favorites in the country this year. This gifted athlete may be new to the game of football, but he has blazing speed and lockdown cover skills. Absent the public recruiting profile, Osaisai has gone largely unnoticed in the Pac-10 this year. Stanford thinks they have a diamond in the rough, though a couple other schools are picking up...

If what you want out of your recruiting daily dish is a veritable soap opera of top flight schools making offers and pitches to a recruit, with official visits changing like the tides and leaders obscured by ambiguous comments to recruiting services... then this is not the story for you.  Wopamo Osaisai has gone through this recruiting year as a remarkably unheralded prospect.  He escapes the recruiting databases of almost all major services, save TheInsiders - where he was added this summer only after I discovered him.  The problem in Osaisai's profile is two-fold: he did not participate in any of the Nike Camps or passing leagues in the spring that bring his vital stats and skills to the public eye.  Neither did the Pinole Valley HS standout go to any college team camps during the summer.  His off-season is dominated by track, where he is a blazing runner in the 100m and 200m events.

Stanford stumbled onto Osaisai at the one football event in which he participated during the summer - a passing league hosted on campus.  Buddy Teevens and the coaching staff have latched onto this diamond in the rough with white knuckles ever since.

The 6'0" 175-pound speedster was hoping to get discovered by schools this fall, as they saw his senior season unfold, but the rush of attention has never come.

"At this point I don't really care," Osaisai states.  "I am not going to beg for a school to recruit me.  Either they like me or they don't."

Meanwhile the East Bay product has nestled up closely with Stanford, attending all four home games with unofficial visits this fall.  That includes this most recent contest, where Stanford surprisingly handled Arizona State.  While the game stretched for four hours and finished in a heavy rain, Osaisai was enthused.

"It was great to see the win," he describes.  "I had a lot of fun other than the rain.  I haven't been able to make it recently very far ahead of kickoff for these games.  Sometimes I can be there for the warm-ups on the field.  Afterward Coach Teevens told me that he just hopes I can get admitted.  I turned in my application last week and they expect I will hear something in the next two weeks."

Osaisai was also spotted talking with Cardinal true freshman tailback David Marrero after the game.  The two have talent and a passion for track in common, and have spoken several times.  "I met him and Mark Bradford both during the summer," the Pinole (CA) recruit comments.  "We struck up a friendship and have talked a few times since."

While this may look like a clean and simple recruiting story, where Stanford alone pursues Osaisai and garners a commitment if and when he is accepted by the University's admissions office, there are a couple wrinkles that have developed.  The speedster took an official visit to UCLA for track a week ago (November 3-4) and is setting up a football official trip to Washington.  The Husky coaches are asking for a December 12 visit, though Osaisai would like that to occur on the 19th, right after he finishes school and heads into Pinole Valley's Christmas break.

"It would be nice to go on the visit and not race back home with school finishing up," he explains.  "The Washington coach has reaffirmed their scholarship offer for me and say they would really like me to take that visit."

If you have followed my stories and updates on Osaisai since the summer, you remember that Washington was actually the first school to offer, back in the spring.  How they found him when the rest of the country had no clue - I do not know.  But then when Rick Neuheisal was ousted as head coach, the status of Osaisai's offer was tenuous at best under Keith Gilbertson.  It appeared that the Husky coaches were slow-playing the Bay Area recruit and phasing him out.  Only just recently have they stepped back up their interest and pursued a specific visit date.

"I'm excited to take a visit up there," he says of the impending trip to Seattle.  "My number one concern is the cold.  I like California weather."

Where does UCLA fit in the picture now, and how would football fit in with those track plans?

"I met the football coaches while I was there and gave them tape of some of my highlights," Osaisai offers. "The track coaches at UCLA said they don't care if I play football there or not.  But right now I think I would be more likely to just run track.  The football coaches don't seem as interested."

"I don't know if I could be in that area for four years," he says of Los Angeles.  "You have a feeling inside about being comfortable at some places, and I didn't have that feeling there like I have at Stanford.  But I don't know what will happen with Stanford's admissions.  I have to keep my options open.  If I am not admitted at Stanford I would first do whatever I have to do to get in.  I would retake the SAT or rewrite my essays.  But if nothing works, I would probably decide between Washington football and UCLA track."

On the football field, Osaisai delivered another memorable big play this past Friday in a rare win for Pinole Valley.  He took the opening kickoff back 80 yards for a touchdown, his second of the year.  Unfortunately he took a shot just above his knee in the first quarter, and had to leave the game with a contusion.  The good news is that his score easily stood as Pinole Valley won their homecoming game, 56-0.  They are now 3-6 on the year with one game remaining and no playoff hopes.  Osaisai says he should be ready to play his senior season finale.

His stats on the year include three kickoff returns for 188 yards and two scores.  Osaisai also snagged an interception and ran it back 80 yards for a touchdown, though a penalty away from the play called it back.  He has touched the ball a few times on offense, with four receptions for 104 yards and seven rushes for 28 yards.  The six-foot cornerback has 70 tackles on defense.

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