Francis Owusu, of Southern California powerhouse Oaks Christian High School (Westlake, California), is one of the most explosive wide receiver prospects on the West Coast for the 2013 recruiting cycle. Playing opposite 2012 UCLA-signee Jordan Payton last year, the younger brother of former Stanford receiver Chris Owusu matured as the season went along, registering 35 receptions for 705 yards and eight scores. A high three-star recruit according to most recruiting services, the 6'4, 200-pound Owusu claims offers from roughly 12 schools including Stanford, Arizona, Arizona State, Florida, Notre Dame, Nebraska and Oregon State. Owusu only figures to see his stock increase going into spring football and 7-on-7 competition.
Size: Has premium-level height that most coaches covet at the college level with a frame conducive to future growth.
Explosiveness: Gets to top gear quickly for a bigger receiver.
Open field running: Shows elusiveness in the open field and is tough to get a clean shot on.
Hands: Not the most natural of pass catchers.
Route running: Needs to expand his route tree.
On film, Owusu appears very close to his listed height of 6'4. He has a fairly strong-looking lower half with room to add weight up top. Owusu has the frame to eventually max out in the 220-225 pound range. He shows explosiveness off the line, quickly breaking down the cushion of opposing cornerbacks and threatening the defense vertically. He can beat press coverage with foot quickness, but will be more efficient in getting off jams by using his upper body strength to out-muscle the better cornerbacks he'll face to avoid getting held up at the line of scrimmage.
Owusu is a shorter strider than most receivers of his height, therefore he possess more initial explosion as opposed to "built up speed." He displays this over longer distances with his ability to create deep separation from cornerbacks and outpace the pursuit angles of safeties coming over the top. Owusu displays very good short area quickness and moves in the open field after the catch. This dimension of his game will be interesting to see utilized as he matures as a player.
At this point in his development, Owusu is more of a deep threat who can tilt coverage rather than a polished route runner. He uses "speed cuts," accelerating vertically and using subtle shoulder fakes and jab steps in order to change direction to create airspace between himself and a defender, as opposed to sinking his hips and bursting in and out of breaks to create separation.
He's not a natural hands catcher as he has a tendency to allow passes to get into his frame. Owusu will also need to be more aggressive in snatching the ball cleanly out of the air, as he will allow it to contact his chest and torso area. From a technique perspective, Owusu will need to use full extension of his wingspan in order to maximize his catch radius. This will make him an even more inviting target for his quarterback as he does not always play to his size.
Owusu has the height, speed and run after the catch ability to progress into a featured target at the collegiate level. This will likely occur once expands his route tree and is able to get open consistently in between the numbers where most games are won. He will likely begin his career as a reserve, running takeoffs and deep posts, in addition to quick slants and crosses designed to get the ball into his hands and use his run after the catch ability.