Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts

Prep football: Big-time programs covet Osa Masina’s versatility (with video)
Prep football » Versatile Masina has offers to play just about everywhere.
First Published Sep 28 2013 03:57 pm • Last Updated Feb 14 2014 11:35 pm

Cottonwood Heights • Pacing alone on the damp football field and absolutely alone for one of the few times in his young life, Osa Masina looks out on a junior varsity game at Brighton High School and suddenly stops.

He sees a game. He hears tackles and cheers and plays being called.

At a glance

Osa Masina

Year » Junior

School » Brighton

Position » Running back/linebacker

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Holding his dark blue helmet, the patented Bengal paw print pressed into the side of it, Masina hears a fan scream out his name. He turns around, smiles and lifts his helmet in acknowledgment before turning toward the black tunnel under the school’s compound along the Wasatch Front bench, walking into the shadows unaccompanied.

It is a time of solace for one of the state’s most sought-after and talented recruits. A step back from the flood of text messages, phone calls, Twitter messages and stacks of letters he and his family sift through as a group once a week.

Life is busy — and under the microscope — for the 6-foot-4, 218-pound athlete who just turned 16 in June.

"He’s had to adapt to that lifestyle of making a conscious effort on social media, with people he hangs out with and in life a little more than a lot of 16-year-olds," said Tamina Masina, who is the mother of four Masina boys.

That adaptation is due to his emerging and evolving talent as a running back, linebacker and wildcat quarterback.

He owns offers from BYU, Utah and Utah State, but, unlike many talented in-state recruits, Osa Masina has visited The Big House, toured Camp Randall and seen Touchdown Jesus in South Bend, Ind.

Offers from Michigan, Wisconsin and Notre Dame are there, along with Oklahoma, Stanford, UCLA and Washington. Brighton coach Ryan Bullett said Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide have started their pitch, too.

Osa, the second-youngest of four brothers, has seen the recruiting process first hand. He saw older brothers Loi and Uaea go through it. Both now are playing football at the University of Utah.

story continues below
story continues below

"The way he faces the media, handles the process, you can tell this is not the first time he’s seen it," said ESPN.com’s West Coast recruiting coordinator, Erik McKinney. "He’s figured out early how to figure this stuff out. On the field, it’s his versatility. You look at the guy and your first thought is, ‘Where does he play?’ — but in a good way."

Which has led him to the top of recruiters’ boards on a nationwide scale and into the realm of being massaged by some of the biggest names in college football. Fans across the country know him and have taken photos of him and his family visiting campuses and in various restaurants. Then they posted them to sites and blogs, Tamina Masina said.

Each night after dinner and homework or hanging out with friends, Osa takes to his cellphone and goes through the onslaught of returning texts, calls and Twitter direct messages.

Anonymous numbers get in contact, pleading for him to go here or go there.

"That’s the hardest part," Osa said, "figuring out what’s best for me and where I want to go."

Loi Masina, a walk-on defensive back at Utah and the oldest of the four brothers, said the family keeps the burgeoning recruit far away from Cloud 9. If the opportunity presents itself, they’ll get him out of his room and engaged with the family.

"I think of how he’s kind of blown up and everyone is treating him like a superstar athlete, but I just treat him like a little brother — not changing anything," Loi said.

That’s Osa’s approach to the madness and inevitability of recruitment.

When some spare time pops up, he tries not to think about the hoard of messages and hints. He thinks about being with his friends, about being a 16-year-old who wants to be nothing more than a junior in high school.

"I just don’t let myself get involved," he said. "Just hang out with good people, go home and get your business done."

On Friday nights, Osa’s business is scoring touchdowns and smacking the nearest offensive player to the floor. Bullett said his star predictably has intangibles coaches can’t coach, adding that his talent allows him to transition mistakes into roars from the crowd.

Next Page >

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.