Sitting in a health class freshman year, Jayson Oweh, along with the other students, was asked where they were going to be in fifteen years. He immediately raised his hand and said, “I’m going to the League.” At the time he was talking about the NBA, but little did he know that his path would take him towards a different league, the NFL.
As many people know Oweh has become a four star defensive end for Blair Academy in his first year playing football in 2016. Until then Oweh had spent the majority of his time as a monster on the basketball court. He decided to become a two sport athlete because he had been told he had the body for football and thought it would help his admission to Blair. As a raw talent he was still able to produce 7 sacks in his debut season. Those numbers should only improve as his technique refines. I was lucky enough to be able to talk with Oweh about what has made him the beast that he is today.
First, I simply asked him about his inspiration and, similar to many people, it is his family but not necessarily for the same reason. Oweh says, “I want my parents to not have to work another day in their lives.” His parents are the ones that provided him with the opportunity to develop into the man he is today and this is how he feels he can repay them fairly for supporting him all these years. He also says that, “none of this was possible without God! #AGTG” acknowledging that faith is another big part of the values his parents instilled in him.
Oweh is more than just work, and has always been like that, saying that “growing up [his] favorite thing to do was just play Super Smash Bros” when prompted about his childhood. Given that this game was a part of my younger years, it is completely relatable, showing how Oweh is one of the people.
After talking with him about his younger days that molded him today, I wanted to know more about the basketball to football transition that we have seen in the tight end position with stars such as Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, and Jimmy Graham making it, all exemplifying a seamless transition. Oweh has expressed interest in being able to play both sides of the ball, and contributing at the tight end position on offense, is perhaps his effort to follow the footsteps of these greats. He told me that his athleticism and acceleration are the things that translate most from the basketball court to the field. The way he is able to burst off the line unlike most other lineman, he credits to basketball. He proved this through testing in the 96th percentile with a 4.63 second 40-yard dash at The Opening regional event in New Jersey. Being able to produce this speed while standing at 6 feet 5 inches and 236 pounds, we can see that all those suicides on the basketball court and jumping practice have paid off.
Then we got to discussing a recent episode of The Shop by ESPN in which LeBron James stated that he felt that one knock on football players was that they only had to play one side of the ball, whereas a basketball player has to change their mindset instantly from offense to defense. Oweh stated, “I agree with him, because being a great basketball player entails you to be great at offense and defense whereas being a great football player you just have to be great at your position.” However, he is quick to defend the athleticism of many players in both sports, including football players who can hold multiple positions, such as Shaq Thompson and Jabrill Peppers. He feels as though, “basketball is more stamina whereas football is body endurance. They’re both equally demanding.” Oweh was able to make the transition, and that has resulted in more than 20 offers being given to him this offseason and he has narrowed them down to his final three – Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Penn State – with a decision being expected in the upcoming weeks. Penn State had reportedly been the front runner before a visit to Ohio State and meeting with Larry Johnson, reportedly having an impact on Oweh’s decision. The two apparently had a connection and the Buckeyes have a history of producing strong defensive linemen. We’ll have to wait and see if Oweh becomes a member of the Fighting Irish, Buckeyes, or Nittany Lions.
He said he has been dealing with the, “constant blowing up of his phone. Whether it’s coaches calling [him at] night or interviewers constantly hitting [him] up for a report on your latest offer, school [he’s] leaning towards, decision dates, etc.” The process accelerated very quickly for him but he has handled it at his own pace, taking his time to visit the schools he is considering and get to know everything about his options so he can make an informed decision. Jayson, we’re sorry for adding to the list of people blowing up your phone, but we here at the Water Boys Journal wish you the best of luck at the next level and in the future.