Sundays could be in ex-IUP star Owusu-Ansah's future
Even his name, Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, makes you think the former Indiana (Pa.) cornerback and return specialist could be destined for the NFL.
The Ghanaian-born Owusu-Ansah's first name means "born on Sunday," and scouts are curious about how he might perform on NFL Sundays.
"In my mind, he's got second-round ability," IUP coach Lou Tepper said. "But he'll probably go from the third to fifth."
Because of season-ending shoulder surgery, Owusi-Ansah missed a chance to play in the annual East-West Shrine Game, which would have been a prime spotlight to showcase his speed on kickoff and punt returns and his ability to play cornerback and perhaps safety.
"He has corner speed and safety size," said Tepper of Owusi-Ansah, who has been timed as fast as 4.32 in the 40-yard dash. "I think Akwasi eventually will be an every-day player at safety. He'll be one of the fastest. At safety, he's got great speed."
The 6-foot-1, 207-pound Owusu-Ansah could be one of the draft's "sleepers" after successfully recovering from the surgery in time to attend the NFL Combine, where Tepper said his former star "blew people away."
Tepper knows a thing or two about draft picks. He is the former Illinois coach who also spent plenty of time as a Division I assistant, focusing on defense. Among the players chosen in the draft from schools where Tepper was coaching were Virginia Tech defensive end Bruce Smith (first overall pick, 1985), Illinois quarterback Jeff George (first overall, 1990), Illinois linebacker Kevin Hardy (second overall, 1996) and Illinois defensive end Simeon Rice (third overall, 1996).
Owusu-Ansah isn't in the same class coming out of Division II IUP, but Tepper said he is drawing plenty of NFL interest.
"Physically, he has all the tools," Tepper said. "But he's also got the character. He's never been charged with even jaywalking. When you're talking about higher-round choices, that's important. He's a bright kid."
Owusu-Ansah returned three punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns as a senior at IUP, and his special-team skills could be his initial ticket to the NFL.
"Special teams is more about raw talent," Owusu-Ansah said. "I played running back in high school, and I returned kicks in college. Wherever I've gone, I've embraced the chance to get the ball in my hands."
Owusu-Ansah is also a playmaker on defense, intercepting eight passes and returning one for a touchdown as a junior.
"Yes, he's from a Division II program, but you can't deny the physical skills he displays," Tepper said.
To prepare for the NFL Combine, Owusu-Ansah worked out in Naples, Fla., with other draft hopefuls.
"People who have been through the process say to just enjoy it," Owusu-Ansah said. "You will only be drafted one time. Regardless of what happens, I'm going to enjoy the ride."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers offensive line targeting injury-free performance as key
- Former Steelers kicker Reed doesn’t like new NFL PAT rule
- Steelers interested in playing internationally again
- Steelers claim QB-turned-WR Gardner
- Steelers’ Heyward looking to stay for long haul
- Steelers’ Lemon hopes to put squeeze on opposing QBs
- Steelers guard Foster likes offense’s direction heading into season
- NFL moves PAT back to 15-yard line
- Former Seminole Darby’s stock rises as draft day dawns
- Steelers tweak variable pricing for season tickets
- Steelers’ Bell seeking leniency from NFL