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Texas linebacker Joseph Ossai was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
The 6-foot-4, 256-pound Ossai was born in Nigeria and emigrated to the United States with his family when he was 10 years old. A few years later, he picked up football, turned in an All-America career at Texas, and heard Roger Goodell call his name.
Ossai, a product of Oak Ridge High School in Conroe, played as a true freshman in 2018 tallying 20 tackles and one sack. In 2019, he garnered honorable mention All-Big 12 honors leading Texas with 90 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, and five sacks.
Ossai moved to the “jack” outside linebacker position ahead of the 2020 season and earned consensus All-America and first-team All-Big 12 selections. A junior team captain, Ossai tallied 15.5 tackles for loss and led Texas with 5.5 sacks in nine 2020 starts.
Texas battled Texas A&M for Ossai’s signature late in the 2018 cycle, but the recruiting efforts of former Texas coach Oscar Giles and former director of recruiting Bryan Carrington helped secure Ossai’s services for three years in Austin.
He becomes the first Texas defensive lineman selected in the NFL draft since the Houston Texans took Charles Omenihu in the fifth round of the 2019 draft.