Owusu striving for next level

Receiver looks to follow older brother's footsteps and play Division I football

Originally Published: April 16, 2012
By Erik McKinney | ESPN.com

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- Just as Chris Owusu is wrapping up his college career at Stanford, younger brother Francis Owusu (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian) is earnestly preparing to start his journey to the next level. Owusu had 35 receptions for 705 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior, including a phenomenal four-catch, 179-yard, three-touchdown performance in the season finale against Westlake Village Westlake.

[+] EnlargeFrancis Owusu
Erik McKinney/WeAreSC.comWestlake Village, Calif., wide receiver Francis Owusu has 12 offers already, with Oregon and USC also showing a lot of interest.
College coaches have taken note of the 6-foot-3, 195-pound wide receiver, as Owusu has collected 12 scholarship offers so far from schools such as Florida, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Stanford, Tennessee, UCLA, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin.

Stanford would appear to have an advantage in the race for the receiver, which Owusu acknowledged.

"The fact that my brother went there speaks well of them, so they're definitely high on my list," Owusu said of the Cardinal. "I'm hoping to go up there in the spring or summer, and I'm looking forward to seeing coach [David] Shaw again."

But two Pac-12 powers have advanced interest recently, which has Owusu's attention.

"I'm getting a lot more letters from Oregon, so I'm really excited about that," Owusu said. "And I visited USC last Thursday, which was a really good experience. The coaches there are really interested in me, and they're going to come by my school this spring."

During his unofficial visit to USC, Owusu was able to spend time on the practice field getting a good look at how the Trojans conduct a practice. Lane Kiffin and staff have yet to offer a California wide receiver, which Owusu said added to the excitement of being recruited by USC.

"I was really excited about them having interest in me," Owusu said. "Coach Kiffin has presented himself so well to me and my family."

Stanford, Oregon and USC have all utilized the big wide receiver well in recent years, which is the role Owusu will likely serve. He showed during this weekend's IMG Madden 7-on-7 tournament that he can be a jump ball target, and he is hitting the track this spring in the hopes of picking up his speed a bit.

And while he's looking to get faster on the field, Owusu is more deliberate off it, as he is happy to take a very slow approach to the recruiting process.

"I'm only going to go through this once, so I'm really excited that I have this opportunity," Owusu said. "I think I'm going to lay back, see how everything goes and let everything fall into place."

Owusu had an East Coast trip tentatively planned for last week but said he had to cancel due to a track meet. He is hoping to reschedule his visits for this summer.

Looking for his first
Like Owusu, another player who showed well this weekend was safety Justin Strong (Fontana, Calif./Summit). Strong played safety for Chris Claiborne's Inland Empire (Calif.) based team and made several big plays, including a key interception late in a quarterfinal game. A 5-foot-11, 190-pound two-way threat at linebacker and tailback last year, Strong is looking to use the 7-on-7 work to make the transition to safety.

"I want to work on my footwork out here so I can make that transition," Strong said. "I like playing safety on the field, but I like running back too."

While Strong doesn't hold any offers, he said Boise State is looking at him as a running back, while San Jose State has showed interest as a safety. He has visited USC and UCLA for junior days this spring and plans to visit Boise State for a camp this summer.

He has a good role model in his older brother, former Oregon State standout and current Dallas Cowboy Victor Butler.

"It's motivation," Strong said. "I see how he lived, and it feels good to try and follow that."

Desert star

Sunday might have started the spring evaluation period for the class of 2013, but plenty of eyes were on 2014 wide receiver Jalen Brown (Phoenix/Mountain Pointe).

Brown put together a solid showing despite playing through several leg injuries, and it was easy to see why the 6-foot-2, 175-pound athlete already holds offers from Arizona, Arizona State and Yale.

"Offensively, my strength is my athleticism," Brown said. "I can get to the ball at a high point, I'm fast off the line and I'm pretty strong with my hands. I just want to get a little faster and a little stronger."

Brown has visited the in-state Wildcats and Sun Devils, as well as the USC Trojans, for junior days this spring. He said recruiting has slowed down somewhat this spring, but that coaches from USC and Oregon will be at his school on April 30 for spring evaluations.

Brown said he doesn't have a favorite school and is simply taking the recruiting process as it comes.

"I was told at a young age that I had great potential and it was coming in the future, so I kind of prepared for it," Brown said. "I'm going to be real open about it and see what the recruiting process is all about."

Richardson up to four
Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne has plenty of firepower returning from a CIF championship team in 2011. It starts with quarterback Troy Williams, but wide receiver A.J. Richardson caught 63 passes for 947 yards and nine touchdowns last year, and will bring his 4.5 40-yard dash speed back to the Gauchos' offense as a senior.

"It's a great feeling that we have so much of our team coming back," Richardson said. "We feel like we can do damage this year. We just want to do work and try to get that ring again."

Richardson holds offers from Duke, Hawaii, Houston and San Diego State, with the offer from the Warriors as the latest.

"It was kind of surprising, but I'm thankful for it," Richardson said of Hawaii's offer. "I'll take a visit down there and see how it is."

Richardson said he is in no rush with the recruiting process and will continue to push for additional offers this spring and summer.