Martin Owusu, a 6-foot-3, 270-pound junior defensive end from Prior Lake (MN) High, is one of the top Midwest defensive players in the Class of 2023. Owusu was offered by Minnesota Saturday and committed to the Gophers earlier this week.
Owusu helped lead the Lakers to a 5-4 record, losing to East Ridge 31-17 in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs.
He had scholarship offers from Western Illinois, Kent State, Bowling Green, Miami of Ohio, Western Michigan, Army, South Dakota State, Colorado State, Massachusetts, Air Force, Northern Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, Akron, Toledo, Central Michigan, Utah State, Illinois State, New Mexico State, Nevada, Ohio University, North Dakota, North Dakota State, Northern Illinois, Vanderbilt, Iowa State, Washington, Washington State, Kansas State, Minnesota and California
GopherHole caught up with Owusu to learn the latest on his commitment and his upcoming senior season.
GopherHole: You got the offer from Minnesota Saturday. Were you surprised or did you have a feeling that something was going to be happening soon?
Martin Owusu: It was more of a relief and a happy moment for me and my family than it was surprising, because we kind of already knew that it was going to happen that day, but it wasn’t for sure, locked in, but when he officially extended that offer, it was just a crazy moment for me and my family.
GopherHole: I was, to be honest, surprised that you hadn’t gotten more offers initially and then things picked up. I felt like once you got one offer then you got another and then you finally got a Power 5 offer and then you started getting more of those. What it kind of frustrating at times because you had put in the work and felt that you were good enough to get offers and at first, you weren’t getting them?
Martin Owusu: Yes, for me, I was never content, but I was happy with the Division I offers I was getting, but, it came to a time where I was like I always had a goal of playing at the Power 5 level and when I had almost 20 FBS and FCS offers. I was really getting frustrated with the fact that I didn’t have any Power 5 at that point, but then I got that Kansas State offer and they all started rolling in from there.
GopherHole: Did you like the recruiting process or did you see how it could get overwhelming at times?
Martin Owusu: Yeah. I loved the recruiting process, but it definitely did get overwhelming. It was never an upwards trend. It was always either up, down, middle, so it was exciting and frustrating at the same time.
GopherHole: You talked about your family. With the support of your family, to be honest, you were able to go to a lot of places that maybe other kids wouldn’t have been able to make. Do you think that was a help as well that you got to go to some of these schools and met some of these coaches in person rather than everything over the phone or by text?
Martin Owusu: Yes. I think that was a huge thing in this recruiting process was really being able to have my parents be there for me and support me in everything. Getting to get offers in person and really meeting coaching staffs was a big part.
GopherHole: I’ve seen your mom tweet some things out. How important is family to you?
Martin Owusu: It’s huge. I really found that at Minnesota and being around the team and alumni and current players, it was a no-brainer for me.
GopherHole: How important was it having your family involved in your recruitment?
Martin Owusu: They were through the whole thing. Obviously, they helped me with getting to places and being there for me, but the mental side of this, I would not be there without them. I have a stepdad for nearly six years and my real dad isn’t really in the picture.
GopherHole: Your mom is not only your mom, but she seems like she is one of your biggest cheerleaders. Does that make it even more cool that she seemingly always has your back?
Martin Owusu: Yes. It’s great, because she’s always in my corner and always about to just lift me up.
GopherHole: I know that you just committed a few days ago, but do you already feel like a little bit of weight off your shoulders having this decision out of the way?
Martin Owusu: I think even just getting the offer from Minnesota lifted the weight off, because it was a long-time goal for me and the fact that I am one of four or five people in the state to have an offer from the University of Minnesota, is mind-boggling and it’s great being able to be part of this new Minnesota football team that’s really on an upwards trend, is going to great.
GopherHole: Have you heard much from some of the other commits for the Class of 2023 yet?
Martin Owusu: Yes. We’ve created a group chat and we’ve just been hitting it off since. I visited twice with the two other commits in Minnesota, Jerome (Williams of Osseo) and Reese (Tripp of Kasson-Mantorville) and we are building a great relationship and it’s nice getting to know those guys.
GopherHole: Do you know Calen McGrath at all?
Martin Owusu: The Eastview commit? I’ve never really met him, but it was exciting seeing that great kicker commit.
GopherHole: Does that get you a little more exciting about the Gophers getting to know some of the other in-state recruits?
Martin Owusu: Yeah, I mean, it’s great, especially the fact that they are really going for these Minnesota guys now. I know that people kind of bash on Minnesota for not always going to their in-state talent, but I think that this class is a lot different than other classes and there is a lot of different talent than there was in the past.
GopherHole: You are an outstanding football player, but you are also very good at wrestling and track and field. Do you think that helps you not get burnt out, if you were just a football kid-only?
Martin Owusu: Yes. I am always in a sport, no matter what and I think the biggest thing that not only helps my game and translates to my film and my playing style is wrestling. That was one of the biggest things. That has really helped me on this journey and the mental part of it is just crazy.
GopherHole: I know that you had a good wrestling season, individually. I know that Prior Lake had a lot of success and you had a couple of kids who made it very far in the state tournament. What would it mean to get to the state tournament individually next year for you, as a senior?
Martin Owusu: I haven’t really made the final decision to make it back up to the mat next year. I know that I am set to graduate early right now.
GopherHole: How much do you think that could be an advantage to you, if you are able to graduate early and get an early jump and be there for spring ball?
Martin Owusu: I think that it would be great to really start to fit in with the team and learn the defense and make sure that I am ready for the fall. We haven’t talked about the redshirting yet, but if that happens, it will definitely give me an advantage.
GopherHole: You put on about 30 to 35 pounds since last football season. When I called you earlier, you were working out. What other things are you trying to do to put on the weight to get ready for college football?
Martin Owusu: I’m really at the weight that I want to sustain for awhile. I may push for that 280 mark by my senior season, but for now, I’m going to stay at this. I think the biggest thing that helped me gain the weight was wrestling and I know that is kind of a surprise, but I was able to put most of this weight on during the season and being able to really work hard conditioning-wise and keep my great physique and condition was really impactful.
GopherHole: What do see as your strengths as a football player?
Martin Owusu: I think the biggest thing is not only my get-up, but the ability to really get to the ball carrier. You can see it on my film. I feel like I’m always in the play. If it’s blowing somebody back a couple of yards or just being in the dogpile.
GopherHole: Have they talked to you much about position at all yet?
Martin Owusu: Yes. I committed to be more of a 3-technique interior guy, defensive tackle.
GopherHole: What are some of the things that you want to work on to improve yourself as a plyer and get ready for college?
Martin Owusu: I think the biggest thing is going to be my ability to adjust my play style from going to high school to college football, if that makes sense. Just becoming as comfortable as I can playing in the Big Ten will really show where I’m at and show if I’m capable of being great there.