"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.