It is only fitting that the biggest sleeper recruit on Stanford's radar this year would have the least ballyhooed commitment. While the world expected Pinole (CA) cornerback Wopamo Osaisai to take an all-important second official visit to Washington this weekend, he stood pat and gave the verbal word to Stanford just days after his official trip to The Farm. Husky assistant coach Phil Snow was down at Pinole Valley High School this week when Osaisai sat down with him and broke the bad news.
"After talking to the UW coach I told him I really enjoyed my visit, and Stanford is where I wanted to be," the 6'0" cover corner explains. "This is the place with the best weather, great people and where I felt most at home."
Osaisai was the only in-state recruit to come in last weekend's group of five visitors, and having seen all six Stanford home games this year, that left few surprises for him. Despite that deep familiarity, the cornerback recruit says he saw a lot during the Stanford official visit to push him to a commitment. Much of that came from the Stanford players, and he names a handful who impacted him during the trip - Greg Camarillo, J.R. Lemon, Matt Traverso, Patrick Danahy and host Timi Wusu.
"I enjoyed hanging out with the players the most," he notes. "I could relate to them and felt comfortable with them. Timi was great to me, and I really enjoyed spending time with him."
The coaches also made a strong impact on Osaisai, but his recruitment was a little different than most. Assistant coaches typically have recruiting regions in the country that dictate one-to-one relationships with particular recruits, but as a local guy who took so many unofficial visits to the campus in the last six months, he counts half the staff as his close confidants.
"I love Coach [David] Kelly, [Dave] Tipton, [A.J.] Christoff, [Wayne] Moses and [Tom] Quinn," he beams. "So many coaches made sure to welcome me whenever I visited. It's funny how many of them I met so much."
The recruit's proximity to the Cardinal campus was surely an advantage in the school's favor, but did the three losses he witnessed not hurt Stanford's case?
"Nah, there is a lot of potential in the program - in the team as a whole," Osaisai answers. "This is a team on the rise. The players are optimistic about the future and I fit right in. I wanted to help Stanford win, and also to establish myself. The coaches tell me I have a chance to play early and it would be good for me. I can do a lot to help the team right away."
With his senior season of football behind him, Osaisai is already hitting the weights to get stronger and better prepared for the college transition. He tested his max in the bench press this week and saw that it has increased to 290 pounds over his 250 from the spring. Some of that lifting will have to transition in the next few months, however, as Osaisai prepares himself for his final track season in high school. He has staked his claim already as one of the top sprinters in California and the country, and he has discussed with the Stanford coaches in both sports about competing in track and football on The Farm. His primary interactions on the track side have been with Edrick Floreal. Osaisai will run the 100m, 200m, 4x100m and 4x400m for the nationally acclaimed Stanford track & field team.
"The track coaches have talked about me being an asset to the team and just working on improving my times and winning," the two-sport recruits discloses. "There is still room to grow, and I am yet to peak. I can feel it. I'm just starting to bloom."
"I intend to be a phenom."
That brimming confidence carries over to the gridiron as well, where Osaisai has earned much less acclaim than on the track. UCLA offered him for track, and he visited the Westwood campus. Arizona piddled around but never offered or firmed up a visit. Washington offered early for football but was hot and cold in their recruitment. Only Stanford gave him a lot of love throughout the summer and fall, and he believes he has the abilities to reward their pursuit.
"I have to deliver at Stanford," he professes. "It's only right that I ball in college. I have a strong belief that it's my destiny to be great."
For his part, Osaisai had a solid year on Pinole Valley's 4-6 team. Few balls were thrown his way, but he recorded one interception and a handful of breakups. His role on defense became one of running to the ball, where he recorded 72 tackles. He had a few touches on offense later in the year as well, carrying the ball 10 times for 45 yards and catching four balls for 104 yards. His biggest gamebreaking moments came on special teams, though, where he ran back three kickoffs for 188 yards and two touchdowns.
Though he was a lockdown corner this senior season, Osaisai has had few chances in football to prove himself. He lived in Nigeria from 1991-99 and only kicked his freshman year of high school, as he learned the sport of football. He lost his sophomore year to a broken wrist, which made his junior campaign his first as a position player on defense. His track commitments in the spring and summer eliminated just about all chances to show himself at combines or college camps, which further buried his profile.
Osaisai did manage one passing league with his high school team on Stanford's campus this summer, which is where he catapulted himself as a recruit on Stanford's long list to a fixture right at the top. The Cardinal immediately offered the East Bay sleeper talent, and once The Bootleg broke news of the new recruit, that put Stanford commit Alex Fletcher on his case. The offensive lineman from New York put in more time with the speedster than any college coach in the country, both on the phone and in Internet chats. The two met in person once during the summer and then again the weekend of the Notre Dame game.
"It was cool to get to know him," Osaisai comments. "We were in different situations - he was hot and I was a sleeper. He really wanted me to commit as soon as I offered."
"You have to see this kid to believe him," Fletcher comments. "He's completely jacked. He can stand underneath a basket, facing the other end of the court, and he can dunk a basketball backwards from a standstill. And the track coaches at Stanford say they feel he could place in the Pac-10 as a sprinter right now."
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