Sports

Owusu ruled out of Fiesta Bowl; career in jeopardy

 

Chris Owusu's college football career is likely over. Whether he ever plays football again is still to be determined.

Stanford coach David Shaw said Friday night that the senior wide receiver will "probably not" play in the Fiesta Bowl for the fourth-ranked Cardinal against No. 3 Oklahoma State on Jan. 2, adding, "it's not going to happen, it's not going to happen."

Owusu sustained at least three concussions in a 13-month span and absorbed several other blows from defenders this year. He didn't see active duty in the final three games after leaving Oregon State in an ambulance Nov. 5, dressing for the season finale against Notre Dame and entering for the final play when Stanford downed the ball in the final seconds to cap a 28-14 victory.

Also a speedy kick returner, Owusu had high hopes coming into this season. He was expected to be one of Andrew Luck's top targets and was a projected middle- to-late-round NFL draft pick.

Owusu finished his senior season with 35 catches for 376 yards and two touchdowns. He was limited to seven games his junior due to various injuries -- including at least one concussion.

The receiver also was hit hard in the head by Southern California safety T.J. McDonald on Oct. 29. The Pac-12 suspended McDonald for one half of USC's next game for the hit.

Owusu first became concussed this season in what Shaw has described as a "minor concussion" in a win at Washington State in mid-October. Through all the injuries, once cleared to play, Owusu had always come back.

The receiver won the Jim Reynolds Team Award, given to the senior with the most courage, at the program's annual banquet voted on by players.

"It's a combination of toughness and character, he's battled so much going back to his freshman year hurting his knee right before the season started (Aug. 19)," Shaw said. "He and I had the conversation four or five games in, `Gosh, if you really want to redshirt, we'll hold you back. We don't know that you're completely ready, this might take a while. He said, `Coach, the first moment I can get ready to play, I need to play.'

"And he's just been one of those guys," Shaw said. "And he's gotten beaten up and knocked out, and he comes back. He's been beaten up and knocked out, and he comes back. And the players recognize that as the guy that they look to for courage."

Owusu played five games as a freshman, catching five passes for 80 yards. He had 682 yards receiving as a sophomore, including 1,167 yards as a kick returner and eight total touchdowns that year.

— AP

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