Ossai declares for NFL Draft

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Texas EDGE Joseph Ossai announced Monday he would forego the Longhorns’ bowl game and the 2021 season to begin preparation for the NFL Draft.

“2020 has been a trying year for everyone,” Ossai said in a statement. “As a team we have endured many challenges both on and off the field, but I couldn’t be prouder to be a Texas Longhorn. Growing up in Texas, football is everything, and there is no bigger stage to play the game I love than here in Austin. I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to wear the Burnt Orange for the last three years now and wouldn’t trade that time for anything in the world.”

“Now that our regular season has ended, I have made the tough decision to go ahead and begin to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft. As a kid, I dreamt of playing at Texas and going on to play in the NFL. I feel the time is now right, and even though it is bittersweet I am excited to face this new challenge.”

“First and foremost, I want to thank God for all the gifts and opportunities he has blessed me with. I also want to thank my family for always supporting me, my teammates for always having my back, my coaches for helping me grow as both a football player and a man, and the Longhorn faithful for being the best fans on the planet. I may have worn the Burnt Orange on the football field for the last time, but I will always bleed orange. Hook ‘em!”

Ossai, a junior from Conroe, signed with Texas in 2018. He has 55.0 tackles in nine games in 2020, including 15.5 for loss and 5.5 sacks. He has 165 tackles, 30.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, five forced fumbles, and two interceptions in his Texas career.

The highlight of his 2020 season was his dominant individual effort versus Oklahoma State. Ossai tallied 12 tackles, six of them for loss, and three sacks. His third sack was the game-winning tackle of OSU quarterback Spencer Sanders in overtime.

Ossai played multiple positions throughout his UT career, but found a home in Chris Ash’s 2020 defense as the “jack” linebacker, a position that placed him on the line of scrimmage instead of off the ball.

Several NFL Draft projections rank Ossai in the first round neighborhood. Were he to hear his name called within the first 32 picks, Ossai would be the first Longhorn selected in the first round since Malcom Brown in the 2015 draft.