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.
State’s top pass rusher still torn on decision
Recruiting fluctuates daily. Teenagers change their minds. Offers become doubtful to become commitments once other prospects jump on board. Coaches back away from players because of grades or off-the-field concerns. Nothing is real until a national letter of intent is faxed to a school.
Take NaNa Osafo-Mensah, for example. Let the Internet tell it and the four-star defensive end is a lock to commit to Notre Dame on May 19. The Fort Worth Nolan Catholic product is down to either the Fighting Irish or the Longhorns. He’s taken official visits to both schools and is just over a week away from announcing his decision. The Crystal Ball picks are overwhelmingly favoring South Bend.
— NaNa Osafo-Mensah (@NaNaOsafo2) April 12, 2018
“In my mind, it is still 50-50,” Osafo-Mensah said after spring practice at Nolan Catholic on Thursday. “I saw that everyone is predicting me to go Notre Dame and I don’t know why people are predicting that because I really feel like it is even right now. I have not made a decision.”
Recruiting is also a drain. It’s easy to forget that these are teenagers making the biggest decision of their lives. Most of us were lucky to get phone calls or text messages from our crush in high school. The reality of a four-star recruit means daily texts and calls from college coaches and the media. Osafo-Mensah kept on goal in mind during the hectic process.
“I would tell anyone getting offers to stay humble,” he said. “I know plenty of guys who let recruiting go to their head. It’s all about the classroom because good grades will get you offers once coaches watch you play.”
It’s a mindset that’s impressed his head coach and helped elevate the TAPPS program to new heights.
“At that age, I can’t imagine having the insight and maturity he shows when handling all the attention in recruiting. He’s still a humble kid who doesn’t like all the attention,” David Beaudin said. “He’s impacted our entire program. It’s changed the trajectory of our program because he’s the total package. People see our best player be a great student, role model and a person of strong faith, which makes it so easy to coach the rest of the team.”
The deciding factors for Osafo-Mensah
The 6-4, 231-pound defender is the No. 8-ranked prospect on the initial 2019 Fabulous 55. He picked up offers from 27 schools before announcing that it was a two-team race between Texas and Notre Dame in April. A visit to South Bend on April 13 put the Fighting Irish in pole position heading into May.
“The players up there are awesome,” Osafo-Mensah said. “I don’t have an older brother. I have a younger sister. But when I was at Notre Dame for my visit, it felt like I was surrounded by a bunch of my brothers. Within a day they were treating me like I was one of them.”
Texas is in the race because of proximity and relationships.
“Texas is in it because of my family. I care about them and I know they can come see all my games if I stay in Texas,” he said. “They’ve been here for me since the start of my journey and I know they want to see me in college, and if I’m lucky enough to make it to the pros. Also, the coaches care about you. It wasn’t just about football. The Forever Texas program is something that intrigues me. It helps us get set up with internships for after football.”
Beaudin believes the team who earns his defensive end’s commitment is getting a player with a high ceiling and strong character.
“He’s guy with a great frame,” he said. “He has the mental makeup to play at the highest level. He can carry more weight. He’s an elite pass rusher right now, but I think he’ll surprise people with how physical he can be once he gets into a college weight room. He’s not a timid player. Some of the intellectual kids can have a hard time turning on the switch and being aggressive on the football field. NaNa has that switch.”
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