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DE Jayson Oweh increasingly impressed by Penn State after second visit
Life has changed in a hurry for New Jersey prospect Jayson Oweh. The Blair Academy defensive end and first-year football player landed his initial college scholarship offer in January, and that total now exceeds 20 schools.
His perception of the recruiting process continues to evolve as offers pour in. That includes Oweh’s view of Penn State, where he spent Saturday with his father and high school coach.
He previously visited Happy Valley in March but circumstances have changed since the Nittany Lions offered April 26.
“The first time I was just worried about getting offered, so I was kind of nervous and couldn’t pay attention to everything going on,” Oweh admitted. “This second trip, the whole staff treated me like family. Coach (James) Franklin keeps it real with me all the time, and it was great to spend the day with everyone.”
Penn State welcomed a select group of recruits to campus Saturday for what could qualify as a mini junior day.
Oweh, considered the No. 14 strongside defensive end in 247Sports’ 2018 composite rankings, enjoyed spending time with two prospects in particular – 4-star Maryland DT PJ Mustipher and Nittany Lions linebacker commit Nick Tarburton.
Mustipher and Oweh are among the most-coveted defensive linemen on Penn State’s recruiting board. Both players gained increased familiarity with defensive line coach Sean Spencer, an endearing figure for the football newcomer.
“He’s like that funny uncle,” Oweh said. “Whenever we talk he teaches me techniques about how to pass rush. I never really used my hands, I just used my speed, so he’s teaching me the Miyagi stuff – wax on, wax off.”
Mustipher shares several common offers, including Notre Dame and Ohio State. Both the Buckeyes and Fighting Irish entered the fray for Oweh last week.
Though they each attended The Opening’s New Jersey regional camp April 30, Oweh worked as a tight end and Mustipher competed with defensive linemen. The latter earned defensive line MVP honors and an invitation to The Opening finals, while Oweh opened eyes with his possible offensive prowess.
“There are so many things you can do with a kid like that,” said Ronny Torres, The Opening’s director of player personnel for tight ends and receivers. “I can see Jayson becoming a dominant defensive end if he ends up going that way in college, but there’s definitely major potential for him on offense.”
Oweh and Mustipher formally met Saturday, and it could prove to be the start of a long-term friendship.
“I’m glad we got to spend time together because he’s cool, open and funny,” Oweh said. “I would definitely like to play together in college. It would be crazy for us to line up next to each other at defensive tackle and defensive end.”
In a potential preview of things to come, both recruits suited up.
“I got a chance to put on the whole Penn State uniform and see how I would look in it,” Oweh said. “It looked good, and it fit pretty well, too.”
Tarburton, a 4-star Pennsylvania prospect pledged to the Nittany Lions since Feb. 9, attempted to move the duo closer toward joining him in Happy Valley.
“Nick was recruiting us just as hard as the coaches,” Oweh said. “He told us about how Penn State is a family and Coach Franklin is really building something special.”
There are several steps ahead for the Garden State standout before a commitment but the Nittany Lions are in strong shape heading toward the summer.
“Penn State has always been up there,” he said. “Right now they’re like top two. The second would probably be Ohio State, Notre Dame or Wisconsin.”
Oweh intends to visit those three schools this summer, starting with an early June journey to South Bend, Ind., for Notre Dame’s Irish Invasion event. He’ll travel to the other Big Ten campuses soon after, including a stop in Columbus.
Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano and defensive line coach Larry Johnson visited Blair Academy earlier this month.
“Coach Johnson is a legend,” Oweh said. “He sees something special in me and really likes my length and athleticism. He wants to help me develop.”
Wisconsin is one of two programs that specifically offered him as a tight end, along with Pittsburgh. Either staff would take him as a defensive end, but their intentions speak volumes about Oweh’s rapid development.
— Tyler Donohue (@TDsTake) May 22, 2017
Just a year ago at this time, he had no intentions of playing football. Focused on basketball during the first half of high school, Oweh began to explore the possibility of putting on shoulder pads in midsummer 2016.
“I’m definitely more advanced than when I first got on the field but I still have a lot to learn,” he said.
Oweh spent this spring working toward further development, following up The Opening experience with a trip to the Under Armour All-America camp series’ New Jersey regional Sunday.
He was named the event’s Big Man Challenge MVP:
— All-America Game (@AllAmericaGame) May 21, 2017
Oweh expects to stay active on the recruiting trail. Along with the aforementioned visits, he hopes to embark on a southbound road trip.
That itinerary could include stops at Georgia, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Virginia Tech, among other universities.
At this point, the pressure may be on other schools to top his latest experience in State College.
“It was more concentrated so the coaches really got to know you,” Oweh said. “I got to meet with Penn State’s engineering person so that was big and really important for me.”
He will reach a new phase of his recruitment sometime this summer, trimming things down to five collegiate options. Depending on his high school schedule, Oweh may use up to three official visits during the season.
He wants to commit before December and already decided to utilize the new early signing period (Dec. 20-22). The Penn State staff can count on hosting him again July 16, when the program puts on a showcase camp that should feature several top targets and many committed recruits.