It's been a while since anyone has touched base with Chris Owusu. The 6'2" speedster from Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian School had quite belatedly sent out his junior film to schools. The payoff was immediate, netting offers from Stanford, Ole Miss, Duke, BYU and UNLV within a week. Virginia hit soon thereafter.
Checking back with Owusu this week, we have learned that he has since added offers from Washington, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Air Force and Rice. The competition for the Cardinal is heating up, but Stanford is still in good standing with the three-star wide receiver recruit.
"Right now, they're definitely near the top," Owusu says. "Stanford is one of my top schools, as well as some other big-time schools like Notre Dame. But they're definitely on top and just a great school."
"I haven't been offered by Notre Dame yet, but they're definitely up there," he continues. "Michigan has been recruiting me a lot. Virginia is definitely up there. I just got an offer from Vanderbilt, and I'm definitely excited about that. Washington is another great school. Those schools with Stanford are probably at the top."
"A lot of schools are asking me to come out on an unofficial visit to their school. Most of them want me to visit before offering me," Owusu adds. "Michigan wants me to go to a camp before they offer me. I'm not sure, but I might go down to the camp at Michigan. There are a bunch of SEC schools that are looking at me, but I think most of them want me to come out there because most of them think I want to stay out here. I've definitely been getting a lot of letters from the SEC."
Not much of Owusu's attention has been on college recruiting in recent weeks, with his track season reaching its crescendo. Owusu broke out in late April with a 10.65 in the 100m at the Ventura County Championships and has not slowed down since.
"That's the fastest that I've ever run the 100," he admits. "It was a great time for me. I think I could run a little bit faster, but I'm trying to heal my leg up. That's been bugging me a little bit."
In the CIF Southern Section Divisional Finals last month, Owusu ran a 10.66 in the 100m, albeit with a tailwind (+2.4 mps). He also qualified that day for the Masters meet in the 200m with a 21.71 into a headwind (-0.7 mps). Feeling the nagging effects of his leg injury, Owusu ran a 10.76 in the CIF Southern Section Masters, which missed the cutoff for the State meet. His 21.86 in the 200m did qualify him to compete in this weekend's CIF State Championships.
"The 200 is definitely a strong event for me," Owusu opines. "I'm going to State in that, and that's probably my best event right now."
"It's definitely a great experience for me," he says of his first CIF State Championships. "I'm excited to be amongst the best, with California being one of the best running states track-wise. I'm definitely excited about that. I'm looking forward to seeing what I can do against the best and what time I can roll out. It should fun and a great experience for me. I've never been to State before, but this being my junior year, hopefully I'll also be back next year."
We knew about Owusu as a bona fide bluechip football prospect, but his track prowess has really only come to the surface this spring. His talents in the sprints surprised him somewhat as well.
"One of my goals was actually to make it to State this year, but I definitely didn't think it would be in the 'one' or 'two'. I thought I was going to be a 400m guy because that's what I've been training for," Owusu explains. "I just rolled off some very fast times for the 'one' and the 'two', and that's what I then concentrated on during the postseason. I might do track in college, but really my main sport is football. Track is just a secondary sport. If I have time to run track in college, I could do that. We'll see what happens."
For residents in the Golden State, news traveled quickly when Owusu ran his electronically timed wind-legal 10.65 in the 100m on April 27. He does not believe many elsewhere in the country are as aware of what he is demonstrating on the track.
"I actually don't think most colleges know about it," he laments. "I know that a lot of coaches know that I run track, but I don't think a lot of coaches know about my times. I'd like to get that time out and show everybody that I'm really that fast. I can use that speed on the football field."
Coaches who are not soon clued into Owusu's athletic gifts may find themselves too late to the party because the Oaks Christian standout says he could conclude his recruitment in the near future.
"I actually plan to commit very soon. Just see where God leads me, and take it from there," Owusu asserts. "I may take some more trips, but I'm not sure where. Maybe some trips to the SEC area and East Coast. I haven't really been there, and I definitely want to give those schools a shot. I just plan on taking some trips to the remaining schools which I really like but really don't know much about. That's my goal. But I plan on committing early and ending recruiting really soon."
Where might some of those travel destinations be?
"I might take a trip to Virginia. Take a trip to Ole Miss and the area around there," Owusu lists. "Just take some more trips to some places I don't know enough about. I could maybe take a trip to Notre Dame. That's a great school, with Jimmy [Clausen] over there."
And how about the timing of that commitment to come "very soon" for the big-play receiver prospect?
"That all depends on what happens during the trips. I definitely plan on making my trips during June or July," Owusu answers. "I could commit maybe in the next few weeks. Maybe not. But most likely during the summer."
Another cog in the Chris Owusu college commitment machine is his admissions status with Stanford. With two Oaks Christian teammates the past two years signing with Stanford, plus his head coach whose son was a Cardinal, Owusu is acutely aware of the admissions process and standards that go hand-in-hand with Stanford's recruitment.
"I definitely want to get a great grasp on whether I am going to be admitted or not. That's a big part of my decision," Owusu offers. "Whether I can get admitted or not could be a big part of why I commit early or look at some other schools and commit later."
"My grades are definitely good enough," he elaborates. "I just need to get my SAT scores. They could give me an idea of where I stand."
That does create some uncertainty for the Cardinal in this recruiting battle, but Owusu says that they are doing well.
"Stanford definitely has a great chance. It all depends on what [scores] I get," he states. "I really have to discuss it with my parents and all, to see if it's a great fit for me. I think it is, just from talking with Coach [Jim] Harbaugh and everything. It's definitely a place where I look forward to keeping in touch with the Stanford coaches. We'll just see what happens."
We shall indeed. Stay tuned for what should be an eventful June in the ongoing Chris Owusu story.
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