When it comes to landing elite talent, I’ve learned not rule out or question the methods of Tom Herman’s staff. They’ve shown time and time again in this recruiting cycle that they can stand head-to-head with the best programs in the country for top players, and they proved it once again with four star edge rusher Joseph Ossai.
The story with Ossai is pretty simple. He was very straight-forward with his admiration for Texas A&M and the Aggies for some time, and it was clear that every school in pursuit would be chasing A&M for the lead. For Ossai, it has always been about more than football, and recruiters making their pitch needed to make sure they had robust academic presentations queued and ready to go.
In Texas’ case, they had the magic bullet from both football and an academic standpoints. On the field Ossai is a perfect fit at B-Backer in Todd Orlando’s defense and he will be able to push for playing time early on. From an academic standpoint, Texas boasts a prestigious engineering program that will allow him to reach his academic goals.
These assets helped Herman and his staff pull off the upset over the Aggies and the land the stud pass rusher out of Conroe Oak Ridge and add another baller to an already loaded recruiting class.
Name: Joseph Ossai
Position: Edge Rusher
High School: Oak Ridge
City & State: Conroe, TX
Height: 6’4 (The Opening- Houston Regional)
Weight: 217 (The Opening- Houston Regional)
40-yard time: 5.05 (The Opening- Houston Regional)
Shuttle: 4.53 (The Opening- Houston Regional)
Vertical: 32.1 (The Opening- Houston Regional)
46 tackles (10 TFLs), 8.5 sacks, 3 FF, 3 FR (1 TD)
58 tackles, (15 TFLs), 8 sacks, 3 FF
- Edge rusher starter kit. Long, lean, and athletic with plenty of room to grow on his frame.
- Has the burst off the snap that will apply pressure on tackles.
- Shows good lateral quickness when put on the move on stunts off the edge. Consistently is able to cross the face of OL and penetrate into the backfield.
- Already flashes an effective speed to power move in his pass rushing tool box.
- Shows the ability to run the arc, flatten, and finish at the QB.
- Creates a high amount of negative plays for opposing offenses. Gets it done against the run and the pass.
- Shows the savvy to know when to go for the ball and has a nice “chop” technique.
- Relentless in pursuit of the ball carrier. Has a clip on his senior film of him hustling 40+ yards down the field to make a tackle.
- A little light in the britches at 217 pounds. Will need some time to bulk up a bit.
- Projects to B-Backer at Texas, but is featured strictly as an end in an odd front. Comfort level dropping into zones is a question mark.
- Would like to see more of him as an edge setter. Teams ran away from his side often.
- May see the field early in his career in pass rushing sub packages and that might cut into his time in the incubator.
Ossai has the look and makeup of a guy that could eventually develop into a very disruptive presence as an edge rusher at the next level. He’s long and lean with a frame that can easily hold more weight while maintaining the athleticism and quickness that makes him such a highly sought after recruit.
As a pass rusher, Ossai consistently shows that he has quickness off the snap that will instantly apply pressure to tackles in pass protection. When you combine that with his long arms, he can be a real handful to slow down. If you don’t get hands on him first and slow down that initial rush, then good luck staying in front of him and keeping him off your quarterback. He shows the ability to run the arc and turn the corner and also flashes a nice speed to power move that will be a nightmare if he continues to work on it. On top of being blessed athletically, Ossai gives great effort and shows good closing speed when he is hunting ball carriers and quarterbacks in pursuit.
Against the run, Ossai shows he can be just as disruptive as he is against the pass. He consistently shows good lateral quickness when he is on the move on stunts, and he consistently gains ground with his steps and is able to get across the face and underneath offensive linemen. This kid is no one-trick pony. He has the look of a guy who will earn the right to rush the passer by putting offenses behind the sticks, living in the backfield and creating negative plays.
Ossai’s talent and ability is undeniable and this was a hard fought recruitment that the Texas staff had to really grind out to earn a victory. Last year the shoe was on the other foot for Texas with a comparable player in LSU signee K’Lavon Chaisson, in which Texas was in a favorable position for most of the cycle only for Chaisson to take his talents to Baton Rouge. Like Chaisson, Ossai projects to the B-Backer position in Orlando’s defense and he brings a skillset to the table that Texas really needed in this class.
This is a major win for Herman and his staff over in-state rival Texas A&M, who was considered the heavy favorite for most of cycle even when Kevin Sumlin was fired and replaced by Jimbo Fisher. Even though Fisher retained Terry Price and hired Mike Elko away from Notre Dame, those familiar faces were not enough to fight off the Longhorns from securing Ossai’s commitment.
In my opinion, Ossai is the type of player that could eventually develop into an All-Big 12 caliber player and turn into an impact player under Orlando and Oscar Giles for the next four years in Austin.