High School Sports

Oatis is UTSA's man: West Harrison lineman makes history, commits to D1 school

 West Harrison offensive lineman Josh Oatis
AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD West Harrison offensive lineman Josh Oatis SUN HERALD

Wilson, with former USM assistant Pete Golding as his new defensive coordinator, landed a big South Mississippian to bolster their first Roadrunners recruiting class.

West Harrison lineman Josh Oatis committed to UTSA on Tuesday over an offer from Southeastern Louisiana and several junior colleges.

"It was exciting to commit. It felt great. One of my goals as a player is to go to a D1 school," Oatis told the Sun Herald. "I knew at that point I'm taking another step towards my future."

Oatis visited UTSA last weekend and had an in-home visit from Wilson and Golding on Tuesday that accompanied the verbal commitment a week before signing day.

"I just liked the coaching staff and atmosphere (at UTSA)," Oatis said. "The school has a small town feel even though it's a big city."

Oatis makes the Roadrunners' 12th commitment and third offensive lineman toward the 2016 signing class.

Oatis said the Roadrunners are looking at him to play left tackle down the line, but he's unsure if he'll see the field right away or if he'll redshirt.

At 6-foot-5, 290 pounds, Oatis is an imposing figure along the offensive line, but he's still relatively raw as a football player. Showing his versatility this year, Oatis played on both sides of the ball and even caught a 16-yard touchdown for the Hurricanes.

"Since I've been here he's the closest thing we've had to a legitimate prospect," Harden said during the summer. "He has to get a little meaner, but he's a competitor and athletic for his size."

Harden added on Wednesday: "He has a great work ethic academically and athletically. He has a tremendous ceiling in regards to his ability in both of those areas."

Oatis is the latest South Mississippi football product to commit to a Division 1 program, and the first in West Harrison's history. Being the first Cane to sign with a FBS school carries a lot of weight, Oatis said.

"It means a lot. It's a small but big step for West Harrison because it's a school that's young," he said. "Maybe it'll help other recruiters start coming to West Harrison."

Other Coast players committed include D'Iberville's Jacques Turner (Southern Miss) and Jacquelle Green (Louisville). Harrison Central's Jordon Beaton was previously committed to Southern Miss but recently re-opened his recruitment.

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