- Derek Tyson, RecruitingNation
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The state of Florida is loaded with wide receivers for the 2013 recruiting class, but the Gators have turned their attention to a California receiver because of his ties to the Florida football staff.
Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian receiver Francis Owusu is the younger brother of former Stanford standout Chris Owusu. The older Owusu, a receiver and kick returner, set the Pac-10 record for kickoff returns for a touchdown with three, and more recently tied for the fastest 40-yard dash time (4.36) at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Florida's linebackers and special teams coach D.J. Durkin and director of player personnel Jon Haskins both have ties to the Owusu family.
"They were both at Stanford when Chris was there -- his freshman and sophomore year, I believe," Francis Owusu said. "Coach Durkin was actually the special teams coach when Chris broke the record, but that was when I was pretty young."
With the success of his older brother, Owusu has a lot to live up to on the football field. But when asked about the pressure he is under, Owusu politely responded by quoting a verse from the Bible
"Jeremiah 29:11," Owusu said. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future."
With 35 receptions for over 700 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior, Owusu is making his own name at Westlake.
With offers from Stanford, UCLA, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Florida, Vanderbilt and Oregon State, Owusu's recruitment is just now starting to heat up. Owusu though, said he is happy with the Florida offer.
"I like how well they have done on the field and how well they perform," he said of Florida. "Also I like their academics, that's really the main thing I'm looking for in a school. My parents have really pushed that on me and my siblings since we were little, so it's very important to me and my family, so that is definitely going to play a role in the process."
Owusu has many offers, but UCLA, Stanford, Nebraska and Florida have jumped to the forefront.
"I really like all of those schools," he said. "I really couldn't say enough good things about all of them. It's going to be really tough to pick just one."
With Florida being across the country, many think distance could play a factor in his decision.
"Distance is definitely not going to play a factor," he said. "It doesn't matter where the school is located at. If I feel very comfortable at the school then that is where I will be at."
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound receiver will visit his top schools over the spring and summer.
"I'm actually going to Stanford this weekend for their junior day," Owusu said. "I visited UCLA for their junior day last weekend. I'm planning on going to Nebraska and Wisconsin's spring game and then I'm going to Florida at some point. It's going to be a long process."
Owusu's former teammate Jordan Payton recently signed with UCLA. Owusu said Payton is already in his ear about attending UCLA.
"Yeah I love Jordan. He talks to me about it just about every day," Owusu said. "UCLA is a great school. I am definitely considering them. I love what coach Jim Mora has done with their coaching staff. They are looking really good."
Owusu said he is unsure when he will make a college decision.
3dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough