football Edit

Joseph Ossai readying for decision between Aggies, Irish & Longhorns

Joseph Ossai is looking to become a December signee
Joseph Ossai is looking to become a December signee (NICK KRUEGER |

CONROE, Tex. -- During practice, Joseph Ossai is relentless. If someone - anyone - is holding a football, he’s knocking it out of their hands. Even just during a conversation between reps, that ball is getting swatted.

He messes around a little bit out there, but that’s what is intriguing about Ossai: He’s so physically gifted that even when he’s messing around, he can look like the most menacing defender on the field.

Ossai is down to a final three in his recruitment, and is deciding between Notre Dame, Texas and Texas A&M. He said that each has a slightly different role in mind for him should he commit, but his commitment won’t come down to what position he’ll be playing so much as it does which team he’ll be playing it for.

“It doesn’t bother me,” he said. “I’m used to playing with my hand in the dirt - in the trenches. Playing outside would be new, but I think I have the skills to do it.”


Ossai has taken official visits to both Notre Dame and Texas so far, with his official to A&M scheduled for November 3 weekend, when the Aggies take on Auburn. He had planned to be a December signee, but said that he’s not really going to buckle-down on a decision until the end of his season.


Recapping his visit to Notre Dame

“It was great, seeing the student section get into it so much, that was pretty cool,” he said. “It’s not a big number of students that go there, but they sell out every game. That tells you how much alumni comes back for the games and that tradition is great.”

“My host was staying in Fisher Dorm - and that’s really old,” he said. “A.C.? None. But what it made me see was even though they don’t update dorms, they like it that way because of the tradition. It was great - all the doors were open, everyone was like hey, come in here, grab a coke, you want some pizza? So everyone was close and felt like family. Then watching them play against Temple was awesome.”

His thoughts on Texas following his visit on October 6

“The new engineering building is phenomenal,” he said. “All the new toys they get to play with are pretty cool. And the defense they play is really nice. Even this past week, even though the lost, that was good defense against a top-scoring offense and that was real good.”

On the sales pitch from Todd Orlando and Oscar Giles

“They tell me I could be that Naashon Hughes-type of player,” he said. “When I watch some of these close games that they have been in, I can place myself in that defense and seeing myself making the moves to finish those plays. I watch how I could impact the defense and picture helping some of those close games be wins.

On what separates Texas A&M from Notre Dame and Texas

“Coming into this week, they’ve made 28 sacks this season,” he said. “They’re leading the nation in sacks. This is tough, because Notre Dame is in the Top 5, UT is playing phenomenal defense and A&M is really doing their thing right now. They beat Florida and everyone thought they were going to have a hard time with them, and they held their own against Alabama.

“Everyone has been saying it’s been A&M (in the lead for his commitment) for sure, but this is why it’s a tough decision.”

Recapping his unofficial visit to A&M vs. South Carolina

“They played great right there, they had seven sacks that game,” he said. “The staff has been letting me know that they’ve been taking care of business out there and I tell them that I see that.”


Ossai raved about the tradition at Notre Dame, but was sporting Aggies and Longhorns wristbands during the practice where he was interviewed. He said that he would consider pushing back his commitment should his high school team make a run in the state playoffs, but despite Oak Ridge’s 6-2 overall record, its 3-2 district record essentially means Lufkin needs to lose out for that to be a possibility. With that in mind, things could be very interesting very quickly in just a few weeks time.