It's been five years since Ben Ossai played football for Washington. The offensive lineman played under former coach Tyrone Willingham and then one season with Steve Sarkisian in 2009. Unfortunately, he had three different line coaches in his time on Montlake, and Washington never got to a bowl game during his Husky career.
Ossai was thrust into a starting role at left tackle in his freshman year, and ended up a four year starter on the offensive line. Of note, he had a reception on a tipped ball in the Huskies' 16-13 win over Pete Carroll's third-ranked USC Trojans.
He cites the 2009 LSU game as a nice memory. "We were up in the first half, and I was imposing my will on the guy I was going against," Ossai said., "I was getting to the second level, flat backing some guys. It was a great game for me personally. Even though we lost, it was an important game for me. I felt like `Hey I can do this. I can do some good things at this level.'"
In the time since he left UW, Ossai has continued to play football, primarily in the Arena Football League. He spent three years with the Spokane Shock, one season with Las Vegas in the UFL, and played last season with the New Orleans Voodoo, where he was voted the top offensive lineman. He recently relocated to Florida and signed with the AFL's Jacksonville Sharks.
"I moved down here to be close to my family, parents and little brother," he said. "I'm also working on finishing up my degree."
Ossai has kept tabs on the Huskies, and yesterday saw his first game of the Chris Petersen era, as Washington knocked off the Cal Bears 31-7.
"He's doing well," Ossai said. "I didn't want to say anything until I saw some games, but I went online and watched the Cal game from a live stream. They're looking good. That #1 [John] Ross, that man is FAST! It's good to see the U-Dub getting back to where they're supposed to be at. They've been to a bowl game every year since 2009. I wish I could have been involved with one of those, but it's great to see them going to them now."
With the Huskies traveling to Eugene this Saturday to take on the highly-ranked Ducks, Ossai wishes the Dawgs the best.
"I never beat an Oregon team," he said. "I remember their lineman named [Nick] Reed. His spin move was the best I ever went against. I also had the worst game of my career against Oregon in 2006 when I was a freshman. They beat us pretty good."
Even though five years have passed since his Husky days, Ossai got a chuckle of out hearing that he has become a cult hero on the message boards of Hardcore Husky. "I did not know that," he said. "It is awesome to hear."
As for the present, the 27-year old still has dreams and goals revolving around football. "I want the degree as a fall back plan, but I want to play football," he said. "I have a good job right now and the degree is like `Hey it took me longer than it was supposed to, but I will be a U-Dub graduate.'
"But I will go wherever football takes me," he said. "I could be in the AFL, I could be in the CFL. I could be in China. They're starting an AFL league in China. They will have American players over there and playing a 9-game season. They did a thing two years ago where they had the AFL all star game over there and it turns out the Chinese people loved it. So they thought, `Hey there's 1.2 billion people over there, so let's go get 1.2 billion of their money.
"But wherever I go, I'm still enjoying playing football."