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May 12, 2012
Francis Owusu knows just what to say to reporters asking him questions about the upcoming season, recruiting questions, or really about anything.
The 6-foot-3 receiver from Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian has seen 15 former teammates sign with Division I football programs in the last four classes. There are at least four senior players on his current team going through similar recruiting experiences, and of course his older brothers Brian and Chris have been down this road before with Brian receiving an offer from Duke and Christopher signing with Stanford.
It is that level of comfort, and experience that calms him through each step of the process.
"It makes it a little easier seeing all of my friends going to top schools," Owusu said. "I guess there is some pressure to work hard but I feel like I know what is ahead of me because of all those guys before me."
Two of his close friends and former teammates, Ishmael Adams and Jordan Payton both landed at UCLA. Both were four-star prospects and played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Neither can help Owusu prepare for the invitation-only Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge that he has committed to attending from June 22-24 at Lakewood Stadium in Atlanta.
But without past experience to draw from, Owusu can lean on another player that is also coming to the camp, his friend Steven Mitchell from Mission Hills (Calif.) Bishop Alemany.
"I am excited to go up against the top recruits in the country," Owusu said. "I have seen the list and I don't think I am going to know anyone other than Steven.
"I am going to do the best I do. If I do well in everything that is all I can for. I can only control myself and how I play anyways."
Owusu is the No. 37-rated receiver by Rivals.com and while he excited to get to Atlanta to help fine tune his skills he is excited to show how his speed can be exploited in one-on-one situations.
"Getting off the line is one of my strengths," he said. "I run track and we have the second fastest 4x100 teams in the country so I think my height and speed will be my strengths."
Also among his strengths is the push from the expectations set by previous success of the Oaks Christian football program.
Owusu said that the tradition that program has and is nationally known for helps push him forward.
Being a part of the inaugural event also gives Owusu another push forward as he will be working out the rust against the best defensive backs in the country.
"It will be great," he said. "I can work getting out of breaks - sometimes I take too many steps when I need to break down - and this will be a good place to work out against the best."
Mike Farrell's take
Owusu comes from a long line of athletes in his family and at his school and he is a speedy player who can get off the line well and stretch the field. I look for him to be one of the players who stretches the field for the west and coming from Oaks Christian I know he won't be intimidated by the talent level at the event. He's a smart receiver who sets up his opponents well and will find space downfield to use his size and length to make plays. He's a bit raw so we want to see how he's progressed and if he is one of the elite receivers on the West Coast.