Owusu Is a Big Cardinal Catch

Stanford enjoyed a recruiting surge in the spring with a spurt of commitments - earlier than has previously been seen in Cardinal recruiting. More recruits are hanging on the fence while they navigate the Stanford admissions process. Though he has just started his application, wide receiver Chris Owusu found enough comfort recently to pull the trigger Monday and give Stanford a very big pledge.

The last time we talked with Chris Owusu, the 6'2" wide receiver from Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian School was staring at a fork in the road.  He could take a series of trips to visit schools on this list this summer, or he could take the plunge with his college decision.  Owusu chose the latter on Monday when he called the Stanford coaches and gave his verbal commitment.  The three-star athlete spoke with a happy trio of Andy Buh, Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw.

"They were all really excited.  They were happy that I committed - happy to get another receiver," Owusu says.  "I know that another receiver has committed, but they were really excited for me to commit, too.  I'm just happy to get out there and help recruit for Stanford."

Joining 6'5" Warren Reuland from Mission Viejo (Calif.) High School, Owusu is the Cardinal's second wideout to commit in the Class of 2008.  While the latter will be a two-way starter this fall for the Lions, including a safety position where his speed and size will make a big impact, Stanford has eyes for Owusu on offense.

"They are really excited for me to play at receiver," the recruit reports.  "They know my run-after-catch ability and are really excited about that.  They like my speed and my hands.  They just are really excited about me being an explosive player and playmaker."

Owusu holds offers from coast to coast, including Virginia, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Northwestern, BYU and Washington.  His decision to attend Stanford, however, has been a long time coming.

"It's a place where I've been wanting to go all my life.  Great academics and a great football team," Owusu explains.  "This really relieves all the stress off me.  I've been working hard these past couple years to keep my grades and do anything I need to do to go to a great school like Stanford.  All my tension, all the stress has been released.  I'm just really happy that the recruiting process is over."

"I've been thinking about it the past couple weeks," he continues.  "I kind of knew it was the place where I wanted to go.  I could just feel the chemistry when I was down there.  I knew these past couple of weeks I was going to commit, but it was when I woke up today that I decided.  Today was the first day of summer ball for us, so I talked with my coach and talked to my father.  We thought this was the perfect time.  I just called Stanford up and said I was coming."

"I chose Stanford because of the coaches.  I met them at the Junior Day," Owusu says.  "I just really felt with the chemistry that it was the place for me.  The team is on the rise, and they've been recruiting some good players.  I felt that it would be a great place for me to play football.  Not only do they have great academics, but it's a place where I can compete with the best and play some good football."

What precipitated Owusu's commitment Monday was a recent series of discussions with Stanford surrounding his chances in gaining admission to the school.  He and his family had harbored reservations about making a public commitment to the Cardinal and then later finding out that Owusu's application is not accepted.

"That was a big thing - making sure that I can get into school," Owusu offers.  "After talking with the coaches for these past couple weeks, I feel like I can get into school with my grades and SATs.  They feel like I have a really great chance getting in, so that's why I pulled the trigger."

"They just sent me the application a couple days ago, and we're planning on getting me in this summer," he adds.  "I'm completing [the application] right now and close to turning it back in."

While the burdens of Owusu's college recruitment are now mostly behind him, the three-star wide receiver is not ready to completely detach himself.  He is eager to now move to the other side of the recruiting process, offering rather than receiving a college pitch.

"I'm hoping to help recruit to Stanford.  I want to help bring on some of these bubble guys," Owusu says.  "I know there are a couple guys like Michael Thomas, who are bubble guys right on the verge of committing or who are just looking at Stanford.  I want to get in contact with them and let them know about Stanford.  Delano Howell is another one of those bubble guys, and I know he's a great player.  I want to bring them on board with me and bring such a great class who I want to play with."

If there is any question whether recruits will want to listen to Owusu, his credentials will carry a lot of weight.  As a junior last season, he caught 35 passes for 790 yards and 10 touchdowns for the undefeated CIF Division III state champions at Oaks Christian.  Owusu also made a splash this spring on the track, advancing to the state championship meet in the 200m with sub-22 second times.  Grabbing more headlines was his 10.65 time in the 100m.  That kind of speed in a 6'2" wide receiver, who is currently ranked by Scout.com as the #65 overall player in the West region, is what makes Owusu's commitment a big one for Stanford and will bring credibility to his voice on the recruiting trail for the Cardinal the remainder of this year.

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