Player Spotlight: Desmond Owino

Around this time of year recruiting heats up for those considered "late bloomers". Putting Desmond Owino into that category might not be exactly appropriate considering this is only his first year playing football since coming to the U.S. from his native country of Kenya. The ball started rolling with an offer from North Carolina and other programs have followed suit including Wake Forest.

"I have offers now from UNC, N.C. State, Maryland, Wake Forest, Duke, and South Carolina State," said Desmond Owino.

"North Carolina looked at a bunch of senior film on me and decided to offer. I went there for a visit for the Wake Forest game and had a very nice time."

Owino, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound defensive end certainly has the physique of a Division 1 lineman. He played at Jesse O. Sanderson High School in Raleigh. Unfortunately, the Sanderson Spartans going 0-11 didn't do much in the way of getting Owino more publicity. Luckily for Owino, it looks like he'll have the opportunity to continue developing his skill.

"In my first game I had six tackles and one tackle for a loss," said Owino. "This was my first year playing. I had always played rugby and basketball. When I came here there was no rugby, so I wanted to try something like it. Football is similar with tackling and blocking. It didn't take me long to understand defense and what I need to do."

Owino would most likely benefit from a redshirt season at a Division 1 program, but early playing time isn't at the top of his list of factors in deciding on a university.

"My top two favorites are UNC and N.C. State," said Owino. "I want to major in Engineering, and I want to be in the best program. N.C. State is very good. UNC is a little good. I have to see all of the programs and decide which one I think is better for me."

Wake Forest's lack of an Engineering program may hurt their chances with Owino, but they'll do their best in getting Owino to take a serious look at the Winston-Salem campus before he makes his decision.

"I received the (Wake Forest) offer from Steve Russ," Owino said. "I have not been there to visit yet, but I'm trying to schedule something with Coach Russ. I know they have a good football program that continues to get better each year. I would like to visit for a game and get to know more about the school."

Kenyans are primarily known for their long-distance runners. Nineteen male and eight female Kenyans have won the Boston Marathon since 1988. Having an American football star would certainly be a big topic of conversation in the East African country. Owino is committed to making it happen and won't play basketball or any other sport this spring.

"My plan is to study and work hard in the classroom," said Owino. "My focus is on academics and improving my GPA."

The Spartans finished their 2011 season on October 28th with a 38-19 loss to city-rival, Needham B. Broughton. Although winless they played competitively in North Carolina's 4A Cap Eight Conference for teams in the capital city.

Owino wore No. 90 for Sanderson football under the tutelage of head coach Tony Lewis.

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