By Mike Moguin
GTR Sports Writer
When he was in the fifth grade, Owen Ostroski lived an experience that most young men can only dream of, and that was traveling with the University of Tulsa football team for a road game.
He, his dad and brother were invited by then-coach Bill Blankenship to fly with the team to North Carolina, in a game against East Carolina.
“That was really cool,” Ostroski said. “We did everything with the team. We flew with them, stayed at the team hotel, that was probably the coolest memory I had. That was when they had players like Dane Evans and Shawn Jackson playing for them. They were in the game and they would actually talk to me on the sideline. Looking back and thinking how cool that was for them to accept me, that was probably my favorite TU memory.”
Ostroski (6-2, 245) now has the opportunity to make more. Wrapping up his senior year at Holland Hall, Ostroski signed a letter of intent on Feb. 3 to play collegiately as a defensive lineman for the Golden Hurricane, where his father, Jerry, was a standout offensive lineman in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
“I’m very excited. I’m very fortunate to be in the position I’m in. It’s a pretty cool deal,” the younger Ostroski said. “I’ve grown up around the TU program, I’ve always gone to games and been around the team for as long as I can remember, and to be able to play where my dad played and where he, my mom, my uncles and my cousin also went to school and graduated, is amazing. Also, getting to stay home and close to family, the people that helped mold me into the player and person that I am is awesome.”
Ostroski originally committed to play at Army last September. But when TU came calling the next month, he could not resist. The opportunity came when a defensive lineman decommitted. Ostroski eventually announced his commitment to TU on Twitter on Jan. 12, four days after decommitting from Army four days earlier.
“There was no other place I could see myself play at,” he said.
“Those coaches have been there for six or seven years, ever since I was in the seventh grade. They’ve known me since I was 13 and they’ve seen me grow and develop. I’m sure they saw quite a bit of potential in me as well as the amount of growth on and off the field from my junior to senior year. They said I was a complete defensive lineman and someone who is a competitor on the field,” he added.
Ostroski will be coming into TU off a high school state championship. He and his Holland Hall teammates captured the 2020 Class 3A state championship in December with a 35-7 romp against Lincoln Christian, who won State the previous year. Ostroski overcame being double and tripled teamed by forcing eight tackles, three and a half for losses. It also opened the door for teammates to make stops.
“It was a very awesome experience,” Ostrocki said. “It was way cooler and way better than I ever anticipated. How much winning that meant for Holland Hall, as a football team, for the players and coaches, how big of a game it was for the school and the community, it was a real cool thing to be a part of. The key that led to us dominating was what we do with every game – going in with the utmost confidence that we were going to shut down and obliterate whoever we’re playing. That’s what we brought into the game and that’s what got us to come out raising the trophy.”
Ostroski said he looks forward to joining and learning from the likes of Jaxon Player and Cullen Wick and the other defensive lineman at TU.
In additional Ostroski family news, father Jerry, a 1992 TU graduate, was a first-team Associated Press All-America offensive guard his senior season while helping the 1991 Golden Hurricane team to a 10-2 record and a Freedom Bowl championship. He played with the Buffalo Bills in the NFL for 10 seasons. He recently was named to join the Hurricane Athletic department as director of premium seating. Last season, Ostroski had his No. 55 jersey retired at halftime of the Tulsa-Tulane game, making him the ninth Tulsa player to have his jersey retired.