The last time Stanford recruited a blue chip Nigerian defensive tackle from Texas, the drama went went all the way to Signing Day. In the case of Franklin Okam, the Cardinal received the very latest official visit possible from the #2 DT in America, but in the end they lost out to the local favorite Longhorns. With that backdrop, it is understandable if Stanford fans roll their eyes a the prospect of 6'6" 300-pound defensive tackle recruit Vince Oghobaase. Rated the #2 overall player in the state of Texas, Oghobaase has played just one full year of varsity football but already has pulled in 24 scholarship offers from a national collection of premier programs.
Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Houston, Texas Tech, Arizona, Miami (FL), Florida, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Michigan, Arkansas, North Carolina, LSU, Duke, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, Iowa State, Kansas State, Georgia, Alabama and Stanford have all offered. You catch all those?
The list is dizzying. In fact, if you assume that the Cardinal have an equal shot with all the rest of his offer schools, then the prospects here look downright dim. There is one shining ray of good news, however. The bugaboo that has stymied Stanford recruiting of the top Lone Star State talents these last few years is not in the picture. The Texas Longhorns did not jump on board with Oghobaase early like these other schools, and he says that he is not waiting by the phone for Mack Brown to call anytime soon.
"I don't know what it is, but Texas has not really recruited me," the elite defensive lineman offers. "They are off my list. No point dwelling on it; I have incredible options to work with."
The reason Oghobaase has so many options is his raw athletic ability. Though he is still short on technique with his limited varsity football experience, the 300-pound pass rusher is explosive off the line of scrimmage. He is also a strong player, with a 340-pound bench max and 505-pound squat.
"My greatest asset is my ability to be quick off the ball," he explains. "I have good extension into the [offensive] line, and then it's all over. I get into them before they know what hit them. I can still have better footwork, though it's not bad. You can always improve some things. I also can still develop a consistent pass rush technique - shakes and moves."
Oghobaase is also working to improve his quickness. He is a mobile athlete who moves well, which traces back to his off-season work playing basketball and throwing the shot and discus. But the 6'6" defensive tackle says that he would like to trim his 40 time down from its current 5.1 seconds to 5.0 or 4.9. He earned First Team All-District honors at Hastings High School in Alief (Tex.) this past fall, as well as First Team All-Houston recognition.
Academically, Oghobaase is just what you would expect in a Nigerian household. He carries a 3.6 GPA and spent a good deal of time this spring with the Princeton Review in preparation for his first SAT on May 2. The student-athlete had been shooting to break 1200 but was quite disappointed to receive his 1020 score this past week. He will retake the test.
Time not spent working on schoolwork, SAT prep and football training will be focused this summer for Oghobaase and his parents checking out schools on his list. His mother works in the corporate office of Continental Airlines, and that will allow him to very affordably take a wide range of trips to visit as much as half of his list.
"Right now I want to be wide open," he describes of his current recruiting mentality. "I can't do any narrowing down. I have to visit campuses and see what I like. Likely visits this summer are Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Miami, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Stanford, Nebraska and maybe Georgia."
Oghobaase says that his goal is to get his list down to a top 10 or 12 and then set his five official visits for the fall. He particularly wants to visit schools during the season to check out the "gameday atmosphere."
He adds that this visit to The Farm this summer is one of the definites on his list. Stanford was a little slow in getting up to speed in their letter-writing campaign, but he says they are doing well now.
"Coach [Jay] Boulware has called and spoke with me and my dad," Oghobaase tells. "My parents really like the prestige of Stanford. You come out of there with a degree and you are set for life. What that gets you afterward is pretty big."
As you can expect, though, this is a crowded recruitment that will bring a lot of competition to the pursuit by Boulware and Buddy Teevens. Two schools have already done quite well for themselves in Oghobaase's recruitment with what he experienced during his spring unofficial visits to their campuses.
"I went to LSU for their Junior Day and it was real tight, but I want to go there again to see more," the top Texan begins. "I've also seen [Texas] A&M, and that was awesome - great facilities, atmosphere and coaches. A&M has also shown me the most love. Their D-line coach writes me every day."
In listing his top criteria he will employ when eventually making his college decision next winter, Oghobaase lists six areas he will scrutinize:
- Academics - "I want to study law or engineering."
- Student life - "I want to have a social life."
- Program need - "Am I wanted or needed? I don't want to be a backup until my junior year. I want to go somewhere that really needs me."
- Coaches - "In particular the defensive line coach. That is who I will mostly work with for the next four years."
- Depth chart
Distance most notably is not on his list, and the premier pass rushing DT says that will not make a difference in his decision. The fact that his mother works for the airlines might make it even easier to swallow a college away from home.
"Me and my parents are going to make a well thought-out decision," Oghobaase declares. "We're in no rush and have a lot of information to still gather."
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