After all, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound wideout played for 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman at Stanford.
Owusu had to wait until he recently graduated from Stanford with a degree in human biology to join his teammates last week for veteran minicamp. The absence, however, didn’t hurt the speedy wide receiver.
Familiarity with Harbaugh and Roman’s coaching styles, plus offensive philosophies, made it that much more appealing for Owusu to sign in San Francisco after going undrafted.
“It definitely helps,” Owusu said on Wednesday, the final day of a rookie minicamp that signaled the end of rookie on-field work until training camp. “It’s part of the reason I came here, knowing that I can’t be here for all of OTAs and minicamp. Having a little bit of an understanding of the offense translates from college to the NFL and having Coach Harbaugh and understanding his philosophy, it really helped me so it’s good.”
Owusu also has a great understanding of what it takes to succeed as an undrafted wide receiver thanks to his strong relationship with Seattle Seahawks second-year wideout Doug Baldwin, who also went undrafted.
Owusu knew Baldwin would be successful in the NFL; all he needed was an opportunity to showcase his competitive nature.
“He always had that assertiveness about him, the intensity that you can’t really teach,” said Owusu, who keeps in contact with Baldwin for tips on making the transition from Stanford to the pros.
“Doug has always been someone I’ve always looked up to for leadership,” Owusu added. “He’s someone who loves this game and has a will to win.
“Whenever you have friend like that you want to go and ask them how they do certain things. But I always knew he was going to compete and do well in the NFL to be honest.”
Baldwin, a 5-foot-10, 189-pound wideout , not only competed, but led Seattle’s wideouts in catches (51), receiving yards (788) and receiving touchdowns (4).Baldwin also caught touchdown passes in both contests against the 49ers.
For all that production, Owusu is aware of the effort and attention to detail it took for Baldwin to overcome the odds.
Owusu had to overcome plenty of obstacles in his own right just to get signed by the 49ers.
Measurables and game film certainly dictate that Owusu should have been drafted. Concussions suffered as a senior, however, shortened Owusu’s final collegiate campaign. In eight games, the talented wideout had 376 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Nonetheless, Owusu enters the pro ranks unfazed by how the 2012 NFL Draft turned out.
All he can do now is make the most of his opportunity, which included picking the brains of veteran wide receivers on the 49ers roster.
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Owusu wasn’t picking up tips from Moss and company this week. Instead, the team’s final rookie minicamp of the offseason program allowed the rookie receivers to grow together.
“Coach Harbaugh’s practices,” Owusu began, “they’re no joke. We go out there and struggle together, but it creates that sense of bond. It’s fun to go out with just the rookies and compete, and also struggle together.”
The rookies will spend even more time together this coming weekend with the league’s annual Rookie Symposium set to begin on Sunday.
Owusu sees it as another chance to build bonds with the teammates he’s getting to know.
“Just the sense I already have with the rookies, we’re a family,” Owusu explained. “We’re trying to go out and compete together, but we also have each other’s backs. I can’t wait to know these guys more and have fun with them playing the game we love.”
Until things turn competitive in August come training camp time, Owusu will continue to prepare for the demands of a Harbaugh-led camp.
“You can’t mess around,” Owusu said of his plans for July. “You have to spend time with the family, have fun, but you also have to get right back into working out and conditioning because camp is no joke, especially with Coach Harbaugh.
“You want to go out there with your best foot forward and compete. The only way to do that is to be in the best condition that you can be in. I look forward to that. I look forward to the grind and having fun out there with my teammates.”