Tulsa Recruiting: Ostroski following in father's footsteps
For Owen Ostroski, it isn't daunting or intimidating following in the footsteps of one of the greatest football players in Tulsa football history.
That is because Owen Ostroski is his own man. He is proud of and loves his father, former first team TU All-American Jerry Ostroski, who had a lengthy NFL career. But Owen Ostroski is confident of his own unique talents.
"There is a pretty big legacy with him at TU, but I mean, I'm a completely different football player from him," Owen Ostroski said of his father. "That's why I don't really feel a whole lot of pressure going into it.
"I think it's pretty cool. People always have asked me if I feel pressure, do I have to live up to him. But him and I are completely different people, playing different positions on different sides of the ball."
What TU is getting from the 6-foot-2, 245-pound defensive end is a player who was dominating in his senior year while leading Holland Hall to the Class 3A state football championship. Ostroski is a player who has only one speed, and that is full throttle.
Incredible stats Ostroski compiled at Holland Hall as a senior included 41 tackles for losses, 15 sacks, nine forced fumbles, and three blocked punts. Ostroski also had offers from New Mexico, Hawaii, Princeton, Penn, Lehigh, Army and Navy, as well as several FCS schools.
Ostroski recently de-committed from Army and committed to playing for the Golden Hurricane, a team he has followed closely since he was very little. It was natural for him to choose Tulsa since he grew up rooting for TU due to his father.
Jerry Ostroski was a driving force on the 1991 TU team that finished the season ranked No. 21 with a 10-2 record. Listed as a 6-4, 305-pound guard from Collegeville, Pennsylvania while at TU, Jerry went on to play eight years in the NFL, mostly as a starting offensive lineman for the Buffalo Bills.
Born well after his father's playing days, the younger Ostroski has seen some video clips of his dad's time at TU and has watched a few old Bills games from YouTube.
Although father and son's experience in playing is on different sides of the ball, they do share a passion for the game where they both are high energy.
While watching the Bills' impressive playoff run this year, Owen had to watch in another room because dad was getting too animated during a Bills' playoff win.
That intensity is definitely inherited, as well as major college athletic ability. Owen definitely knows his strengths.
"Physicality, explosiveness. I mean, just wanting to hit," said Owen Ostroski. "And the aggressiveness I have on the field."
Does he have any weaknesses?
"Being under control. Sometimes I get a little out of control," Ostroski said about trying to curtail his aggressiveness on the field. "Trying to avoid roughing the passer penalties."
One thing he knows is that he will have to put on some weight at TU, where he projects himself to eventually gain about 25 pounds to 270.
"The size difference in college is something I will have to learn," Ostroski said. "In high school, I was usually one of the biggest guys on the field, and now I won't be. I'll have to learn how to adjust to that."
Ostroski improved greatly from his junior season to a magical senior year for the Dutch where everyone had their doubts about whether the season would be completed. Although his whole high school career had been a constant rise in achievement.
"I improved pretty dramatically from when I first started, because I never really played defensive line going into high school," Ostroski said. "So when I first started, I didn't really know a whole lot of technique. I didn't know how to use my hands very well and read situations.
"I improved a lot from last year to this year."
Playing the entire senior season not knowing whether it would finish due to COVID-19 was a particular challenge to all involved. But it was also a challenge that Ostroski and his Dutch teammates embraced.
"We kept getting told that you just have to make the most out of every day because you never know when it might end," Ostroski said. "It will be your last game, and then that's kind of how we approached the season. To make the most out of every practice and every game left.
"You want to make the most out of everything, and if this is going to be your last game, how do you want to go out?"
Being a part of winning Holland Hall's first state championship was quite the experience for Ostroski.
"It was pretty unbelievable. I had never been to a state championship game, to play or just to watch, so I really didn't know what to expect," Ostroski said of beating Lincoln Christian in the state championship game at UCO.
"I didn't realize how much it was going to mean, not just for the team, but for the entire school and community and all that. It was a really big deal. It's not something that a lot of people get to do, and so, to be a part of that is something I was really blessed and fortunate to be a part of."
It looked like Ostroski's college career would be spent at West Point playing for Army, but a coaching change altered his plans.
"The Army deal was the defensive coach Tank Wright, who recruited me and I built a relationship with over the past year, he left to go be the head strength coach at the University of Illinois," Ostroski said. "And so that's why I decommitted from there.
"Right after I decommitted, I really didn't have a whole lot of schools in mind. TU was always at the front of my list, and I like the opportunity to play at home."
The lure of home was too great. And TU is ingrained in the Ostroski family.
"TU is a place that I've been around since before I could even remember, where my dad played and where my mom went to school," Ostroski explained. "I get to follow my parents' footsteps. And the academics part of it is outstanding.
"It is something that it just seemed like it was too cool of an opportunity to pass up."
Coming from Holland Hall, whose academics are second to none, Ostroski is well equipped to handle TU's stringent academic standards.
"I'd like to do something in the business school. I'm pretty interested in the business side of it," Ostroski said. "But then I'm also interested in studying kinesiology. I want to ultimately become a college strength coach."
It was exciting for Ostroski to watch Tulsa's outstanding season, being ranked for six weeks and playing in the AAC Championship game after an undefeated conference season. And following Zaven Collins' award winning year was fascinating.
"I watched every TU game they played this year," Ostroski said. "I was heavily into it because of my dad and I."
Getting to join an outstanding Tulsa defense with most of the players returning is very appealing to Ostroski
"I'm very excited to be in such an outstanding D-Line room around guys like Jaxon Player and Cullen Wick and to work as hard as I can," he said. "It's great to have them come back so I can learn from them and watch them and see how they work and practice. I will use all that to benefit me and make me the best player I can be."
In the early December signing period, Tulsa signed six prospects. Ostroski plans to sign with the Hurricane during the regular signing period that begins on February 3.