Stay updated on latest Texas Longhorns recruiting news brought to you by Longhorns recruiting beat writer Mike Craven of Hookem.com. The Dotted Line will publish M-F at 10 a.m. each morning to provide Texas fans with an in-depth look at the latest for the Longhorns on the recruiting trail.
Official visits loom for state’s top pass rusher
The best pass rusher in the state for the 2019 recruiting class is Fort Worth Nolan Catholic defensive end and outside linebacker NaNa Osafo-Mensah. The 6-4, 227-pound four-star prospect is set to commit on May 19 after taking official visits to Notre Dame on April 13 and Texas on May 4.
Osafo-Mensah plans to trim his list to two or three schools at noon on Thursday. He’s ranked No. 8 on the initial 2019 Fabulous 55.
Big News coming out Thursday at 12:00pm‼️👀
— NaNa Osafo-Mensah (@NaNaOsafo2) April 8, 2018
“Mentally, I’m ready for spring ball and I want to dial back recruiting as my focus moves towards my senior season of football,” Osafo-Mensah said after the Under Armour All-America Camp Series in Cedar Hill on Sunday. “I want to trim my list to two or three schools and really just focus on football and my upcoming official visits to Texas and Notre Dame.”
It’s safe to assume it’s a two-team race between the Longhorns and Fighting Irish. Osafo-Mensah sees value in each program, even beyond football. The pass rusher isn’t just a football player. Osafo-Mensah is an excellent student who is used to the demands of college due to his private school training. Notre Dame provides him a chance to set his own path.
“I understand Notre Dame is far away, but it would give me an opportunity to be different,” he said. “Not many people from my school have gone to Notre Dame, much less played football there. It would give me an opportunity to be unique.”
Texas, however, is home. And the weather doesn’t hurt.
“I like Texas because it is a lot warmer. I hate the cold weather,” said Osafo-Mensah with a smile. “I like the Austin area and I know if I have the opportunity to live in Texas down the road, that’s what I want to do, and the University of Texas sets you up in the state because of all the connections with the alumni.”
Osafo-Mensah hopes his official visits help him make his decision and he’s approaching those visits with a plan of action, just like he would an offensive tackle or math class.
“I’m just looking for the visit that makes me truly feel home,” he said. “I’m going to put myself in the position to feel like a student-athlete and visualize what it’d be like to spend the next four or five years there as a player and a student. My biggest thing I look at is what school I’d be happiest at if I got hurt and football disappeared. That will be my choice.”
The evolution of TAPPS
The public schools built Texas’ reputation as the mecca of high school football. Now, more talent each cycle is deciding to play at private schools like Dallas Bishop Dunne, Houston St. Pius X or Fort Worth Nolan Catholic. It’s possible that the trend only exists for the 2019 cycle.
“Nolan Catholic is a college preparatory school, so it teaches you how to prepare for college on an every-day basis,” Osafo-Mensah said. “It teaches great habits and it surrounds you with focused people who have similar goals. I feel ready for college because of my time at Nolan Catholic.”
The state’s top safety, Brian Williams, plays at Bishop Dunne and shared a similar opinion.
“I’m not worried about adjusting to college because it feels like I’ve been a college student for three years now at Bishop Dunne,” he said. “The private schools force you to value education and learn how to manage time. I hear that’s the toughest part of adjusting to college. Now that the football talent is growing, there won’t be that stigma for private school guys anymore. We can play with anyone.”
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