Owusu Blazing His Own Trail

The Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian receiver, Francis Owusu, said he wants to blaze his own trail as a player...

Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian receiver Francis Owusu has a dozen offers, spanning the country.

Only a few months ago, Owusu was just looking to have one opportunity to play in college, and follow in the footsteps of his older brothers, Chris, who was a receiver at Stanford and Brian, a cornerback at Harvard.

But now, the 6-4, 200-pounder has more offers than either of his brothers did, and is quickly becoming one of the more heavily recruited receivers in the West in this class.

The youngest boy in his family, Owusu, who's father Frank was an Olympic sprinter, said the competition growing up has shaped him to where he's at now.

And the encouragement of both of his brothers has put him in the position where he's getting to be more selective of where he's going.

"Both Chris and Brian have been really happy for me and they're just happy for me to be able to go through the experience that I'm going through," said Owusu. "Chris has been really helpful because of his recruitment. He's been telling me it's going to be hectic at some times and that you've got to be focused on school first and foremost. That needs to be your first priority. Football will come. He's been totally awesome about things. Of course, he's saying great things about Stanford to me, but the main thing he says is to go where your heart tells you to go. That's where you should be. He said if Stanford is where your heart is, go there. But if not, go with where it is."

Owusu has 12 schools that are trying to win his heart, including Stanford, one of the first schools to offer. Joining the Cardinal were schools like Arizona, Arizona State, Florida, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon State, Tennessee, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Washington State and Wisconsin.

Several of the schools have ties to Owusu, with coaches on staff who recruited or coached Chris while at Stanford or just recruited Oaks Christian and its fertile pool each year.

"There have been coaches all over that my family knows," said Owusu. "It's been awesome. Obviously a lot of the Stanford coaches know me from my brother, but Coach (D.J.) Durkin at Florida and Coach (Andy) Buh at Wisconsin also coached Chris there. And I've had teammates go to UCLA, Vanderbilt and Arizona State. My offensive coordinator (Casey Clausen) played at Tennessee and his brother (Jimmy) played at Notre Dame. So there are a lot of coaches I've gotten to know through the process. A lot of these coaches have said they want to reunite with me."

While Owusu said Stanford has been working on him greatly, a number of other schools have been putting in the work. The Cardinal were the first to be by the Oaks campus on Monday, with offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton stopping by, and later in the day, Florida assistant coaches Brian White and Aubrey Hill came in.

In the week's ahead, Owusu said he expects UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Oregon State, Washington State and Wisconsin to come by and also thinks Oregon could make a stop.

"I'm actually getting a lot of attention from Oregon," said Owusu. "They like me as one of their bigger and physical receiver recruits. They haven't offered me, but I think they could be offering me soon."

While Chris is one of the more explosive receivers coming out in the 2012 NFL Draft, Francis is a different type of receiver, a bigger, physical threat, who while he has very good speed, is known more for the physical nature of his game.

"The speed and the size is the difference in my game than Chris," said Owusu. "He's a little faster, but I'm a little taller and bigger. So I'm really happy about that. At this point in high school, I think we're about the same speed that he was at when he was my age. Of course, let's see if I can run a 4.3 at the combine like he did."

In fact, another receiver in this NFL draft class is who Owusu is being compared to.

"When I've talked with Notre Dame, they've compared me to Michael Floyd, because he's a big and physical receiver and like him, I attack the ball and have really good speed," said Owusu.

Though Francis praises Chris for his paving the way of a big recruitment, he also credits Brian, an all-Ivy League cornerback, for some of the arduous workouts he's had to endure.

"When Brian is home from Harvard, I'll want to sit down and play video games, and he'll tell me to get up and go do work and so we'll go to a park and grab (teammate and quarterback) Brandon Dawkins and do 1-on-1's. He's got experience at the college level and he's a college corner so I'm working against him trying to get better. He wants me to keep improving," said Owusu.

Owusu has visited Stanford, UCLA and USC already this spring and is hoping to visit more schools in the months ahead.

"We're going to try and make a trip out East and visit some schools out there like Notre Dame and Wisconsin," said Owusu. "And I want to visit Oregon State, and get up to Washington and Washington State. Washington State intrigues me because I could catch a lot of passes there. That offense uses receivers a lot and they throw it a lot and that's something that pulls me towards them."

Despite the ties to Stanford, Owusu maintains that he's wide open at this point.

"Everybody thinks with my brother at Stanford, that's where I'm going to go, but I'm open minded about everything," said Owusu. "Stanford presented themselves well to us at Junior Day, but I also went to UCLA and USC for their Junior Day and I really liked those schools. That's why it's important for me to get out and see some of these schools. I'm blazing my own trail and wherever that may lead me, whether it's Stanford or anywhere else, that's where I'll go. I'm not locked into Stanford and I'm looking at everyone equally."

Owusu said he's hoping to have a decision made by the time his season starts.

"My time frame is later this spring, maybe summer," said Owusu. "But if I don't make any unofficial visits, I'll make officials and I could wait until the season."

Last year, Owusu was the Lions' #2 receiver behind U.S. Army All-American Jordan Payton but is now set to be the primary weapon for Oaks as they make the move to the Pac-5 Division. In fact, it was in the CIF-SS finals a year ago that Owusu put himself on the map, with a four-catch, three-touchdown performance with Westlake set on slowing Payton.

"The Westlake game, I just felt I had something to prove," said Owusu. "I wanted to win that game so bad for the seniors and show them I could help them out. Mentally, I was a lot better after that game. We came up short but now we're working hard this spring and summer. I'm hoping to be one of those featured guys for us this year and me and Chris Davis and Robert Morgan are working with Brandon (Dawkins) and we should be in good shape this season."

With brothers at Stanford and Harvard and a sister at Columbia, Owusu has also continued to focus on his studies, despite a busy schedule that has him doing both track and 7on7 with 1925 All-Stars.

"Since we were little kids, my family has pushed academics," said Owusu. "Once you have a school in mind, football will follow but you always have to have academics. Football could be gone so you have to have your degree to fall back on."

Owusu is carrying a 3.7 GPA with a number of AP and honors classes and will take both the ACT and SAT this spring.

Brandon is in his eighth year with Scout.com and FOXSportsNext, currently as a National Recruiting Analyst and West Regional Manager. Prior to joining the Scout Recruiting Team, he was a team recruiting writer.  He's been covering recruiting for the Scout Network since 2003.
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