Texas Longhorns' Joseph Ossai to forgo senior season, declare for NFL draft

Texas linebacker Joseph Ossai is declaring for the NFL draft, skipping the remainder of the 2020 season and forgoing his senior season, he announced Monday.

"Now that our regular season has ended, I have made the tough decision to go ahead and begin to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft," he said in a statement. "As a kid, I dreamt of playing at Texas and going on to play in the NFL. I feel the time is now right, and even though it is bittersweet I am excited to face this new challenge."

Ossai, a team captain, is No. 2 in Mel Kiper's rankings at outside linebacker for next year's draft, behind Notre Dame's Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. This season, Ossai made 55 tackles with 16 tackles for loss, the most in the Big 12 and second-most nationally, and added five sacks and three forced fumbles.

Against Oklahoma State this season, Ossai was dominant with 12 tackles, including six for a loss and had three sacks in the Longhorns' 41-34 win. His sack of OSU quarterback Spencer Sanders on fourth down in overtime sealed the win and made him the first Power 5 player to record at least 12 tackles, six tackles for loss and three sacks in a game since Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh in the 2009 Big 12 championship game.

Against Utah in last year's Valero Alamo Bowl, Ossai had a similar breakout game, becoming the only FBS player over the past 20 seasons to record at least six tackles for loss and three sacks in a bowl game.

The Longhorns potentially have only a bowl game remaining this season, should they choose to accept a bid. However, a conference tiebreaker says that if Iowa State or Oklahoma is unable to play in the Big 12 title game, Texas would be the next team in.

Ossai is Texas' fifth team captain who has opted out recently, along with offensive tackle Samuel Cosmi, safety Caden Sterns, safety Chris Brown and defensive tackle Ta'Quon Graham.