Home Profile in Excellence Joseph Ossai Biography and Profile

Joseph Ossai Biography and Profile

Joseph Ossai
Joseph Ossai

Joseph Ossai (born April 12, 2000) is a Nigerian professional American football defensive end for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at the University of Texas where he was a consensus All-American and a finalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy. He was drafted by the Bengals in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Early life and high school

Ossai was born in Ketu Ijaniki, LagosNigeria, and lived there until his family moved to Conroe, Texas when he was 10.

He attended Oak Ridge High School, where he played basketball and football and was a two-time all-district and academic all-district honoree. As a senior, he recorded 58 tackles, eight sacks, 15 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles and was named first-team All-District 12-6A, and first-team All-Greater Houston by the Houston Chronicle. Ossai was rated a four-star recruit and committed to play college football at Texas over offers from Texas A&MNotre Dame and Oregon.

College career

In three seasons with the Longhorns, Ossai played in 36 games and made 24 starts, earning consensus All-America honors in 2020 with first-team recognition from the AP, FWAA and WCFF and second-team honors from the AFCA and Sporting News. He was a finalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy and a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award in 2020 and earned earned honorable mention as the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Lineman of the Year. He chose to forego the 2020 Alamo Bowl and his senior season to go pro.[1]

As a true freshman, Ossai played in all 14 of the Longhorns’ games with two starts and made 20 total tackles with one a sack and a forced fumble.

He led the team with 62 tackles in his sophomore season while also recording five sacks, two interceptions, one pass broken up, one forced fumble and also blocked a kick.[8] In the postseason, he was the 2019 Alamo Bowl Defensive MVP. In the following spring, he made the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll.[1]

Ossai was named to the Bronko Nagurski TrophyChuck Bednarik Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy watchlists entering his junior season. That year, he had 55 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, and 5 sacks on his way to being named first team All Big-12 and an All-American. On December 14, 2020, Ossai announced his decision to enter the 2021 NFL draft, choosing to forgo Texas’ 2020 Bowl game and his senior season.

Joseph Ossai

Professional career

Ossai was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the third round (69th overall) of the 2021 NFL Draft. He signed his four-year rookie contract on June 2, 2021. Ossai suffered a meniscus injury in the second preseason game. He was placed on injured reserve on August 31, 2021, ending his season.

Ossai made his NFL debut in the Bengals’ 2022 regular season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. In Week 18 against the Baltimore Ravens, he recorded a fumble recovery for a touchdown in the 27–16 victory. He appeared in 16 regular season games and recorded 3.5 sacks, 17 total tackles, one pass defended, and two fumble recoveries. In the AFC Championship against the Kansas City Chiefs, Ossai committed an unnecessary roughness penalty with eight seconds left in regulation on quarterback Patrick Mahomes resulting in a 15 yard penalty and much closer field goal 

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