Pros and Cons to 4-Star OLB Osa Masina's Top Schools
Osa Masina is a versatile 4-star athlete who can play several different positions. While the Utah native projects best as an outside linebacker in college, he can also play running back, defensive end, tight end and even receiver.
Masina, who is 6'4" and 218 pounds, has many schools after him. However, he narrowed his choices to a group of eight schools in April, according to Justin Hopkins of 247Sports.
As Masina goes through the recruiting process and examines the eight programs in contention for him, he will need to weigh the pros and cons of each school.
The first thing that comes to mind whenever anyone thinks of Stanford is academics. A degree from the university is a major asset for anyone, and the Cardinal also play big-time football.
Head coach David Shaw is one of the best in the business. The program has a mature feel to it and requires players to be driven on and off the field. Masina also would fit well as a pass-rushing outside linebacker in Stanford's 3-4 defense.
Obtaining early playing time in Palo Alto, California, may be tough. Stanford has good talent, plus the adjustment to the academic demands can be daunting.
Wisconsin is among the better programs in the Big Ten. The Badgers are known for their tough and physical brand of football, which suits Masina's style of play well.
The fans in Madison support the team with great passion. Gary Andersen is a defensive-minded head coach who will make sure Masina is developed properly as a linebacker. However, Wisconsin is known for its running backs, which is another position Masina can play.
The Badgers have also recruited a bit better in recent years than many people realize.
Wisconsin is a quality program, but it isn't a national powerhouse. Michigan and Ohio State are generally perceived as a notch above the Badgers in the Big Ten's pecking order.
Arizona State is coming off a 10-4 season in 2013, with head coach Todd Graham being 18-9 over his first two seasons in the desert, according to Sports-Reference.com.
He is gradually becoming one of the better coaches in the Pac-12. The Sun Devils have a feel of a program on the rise, and they signed the No. 23 recruiting class in the country in 2014, per 247Sports.
The Sun Devils play fast and physical on the field, and they also receive solid support and have quality facilities. Tempe is close to Phoenix, which means Masina shouldn't be bored during his spare time.
Arizona State has had success in the past, but programs such as USC, Oregon and Stanford are still perceived as being above the Sun Devils in the Pac-12 pecking order. Masina could also be distracted a bit by the party atmosphere of ASU's campus.
UCLA resides in Westwood, which is a gorgeous section of Los Angeles. The Bruins have a better tradition in football than many think, plus they boast good facilities.
Head coach Jim Mora leads a team that would run through a wall for him. He's fun to play for, and he knows how to keep his players loose. UCLA is set up now and in the future, as the Bruins have a commitment from 5-star quarterback Josh Rosen.
A degree from UCLA also isn't a bad thing to have.
Although the Bruins have been successful under Mora, they're still going to be fighting to get out of the shadow of crosstown rival USC. Mora also could bolt back to the NFL before Masina graduates.
Michigan is one of the classic and traditional programs in college football. Big Blue has a ton of tradition, plus its history of winning is nearly unmatched.
Head coach Brady Hoke has stocked the roster with terrific young talent, and defensive coordinator Greg Mattison is an outstanding defensive mind. Michigan Stadium is one of college football's historic sites, and the program has had a ton of legends come through its door.
Michigan also receives consistent national exposure.
Hoke went 8-5 in 2012 and 7-6 in 2013, according to Sports-Reference.com. If Michigan doesn't have a better record this fall, he may start to feel some warmth under his seat. The weather in Ann Arbor isn't always great, plus rival Ohio State looks like the more dominant program right now.
Notre Dame football has a huge following around the world. The mystique and tradition that the program boasts is perhaps unrivaled in sports.
Head coach Brian Kelly has established himself as an excellent recruiter who belongs among the country's elite head coaches. Academics at Notre Dame are outstanding, as a degree from the university is an exceptional asset.
Fans pack the stadium every home game, plus they follow the team on the road.
The academic adjustment at Notre Dame can be challenging. The weather in South Bend, Indiana, is not exactly an attraction.
Residing in Los Angeles, USC offers recruits a chance to play football on a big stage in a big city. The Trojans have extraordinary history and tradition, and they have put a wealth of players into the NFL.
Head coach Steve Sarkisian is installing a faster pace of play in Troy, and the defensive scheme could have a look of a hybrid 3-4/4-3. USC has a roster full of talented players, and the Trojans also have great facilities.
Fans come out to games in waves during the fall, while the national media always check in on USC.
Sarkisian was generally viewed as a safe-to-underwhelming type of hire. USC isn't the "it" program it once was during the middle of the last decade.
Utah gives Masina the chance to not only stay in his state and close to home but to also follow the family trend. He has had two brothers play for the Utes, according to Rob Cassidy of Rivals.com (subscription required).
He would be able to stay in a familiar setting and environment while also being able to routinely play in front of his family and friends. Kyle Whittingham is an underrated head coach who is a great defensive mind.
Masina would be the face of Utah's 2015 class, and he would likely play as a true freshman.
Whittingham is just 12-14 over the past two seasons, per Sports-Reference.com. Utah is not one of the best programs in the Pac-12, plus staying close to home isn't always the best thing for a young adult.
Masina told the following to Cassidy on April 11: "I'm just kind of looking around and feeling out the schools...There's not one particular thing I'm looking for."
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.