Wichita East’s Tobi Osunsanmi surprises on and off the field

By Joanna Chadwick

A conversation with Wichita East linebacker Tobi Osunsanmi is an education.

Just when you think he’s going to answer a question just like every other athlete has in the history of sports, he veers into a different direction.

For instance, Osunsanmi has got speed. But when you start talking about his speed, he turns it into a conversation about chemistry.

“We prepared for it, and we were running together and making sure our handoffs were great,” he said of East’s 400 relay team that he helped win the Class 6A championship in May. “We were making sure we were cool with each other, coming together.”

And when asked to analyze his own skills on the football field, he surprised again.

“My skills are reading the situation,” he said. “I’m trying to predict the play they’re going to run. If it’s third and 15, they won’t run the ball, so I communicate with my team.

“Communication is my second skill with effort being my third. I want to do everything 100 percent.

“I try not to put my physical gifts as a skill. They can be taken away from me. I put my skills as mental things which I can control.”

Osunsanmi, who is 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, has committed to play at Kansas State.

“It’s a school I’ve been looking at,” he said. “It’s not too far from home and my sister went there. They have a good engineering program.

“Their football is also a developmental program. They develop their players. Instead of just having all the best players, they choose people who they see potential in and try to get them to where they want to be so they can be a five-star player later.”

Osunsanmi has helped East improve over the past two years, including going 5-4 when he was a sophomore and 8-2 as a junior and advancing to the 6A playoffs.

“I feel like we can have a better season,” he said. “We can improve on last season with the players we’ve got and the team chemistry that we have. Our schedule isn’t easy, and we’ll have to play to our full potential. We added Hays and Kapaun to the list, and Northwest is a traditionally good team.

“… It’s up to us to keep a winning record and set it up for the rest of the years to come. The players we have are talented players, but it’s the chemistry and the relationships working together.

“Last year we worked together the best. We communicated. There was no arguments on the team. That’s all that’s needed to keep a good record going.”

Osunsanmi has played quarterback, receiver, defensive end.

But he likes his spot at linebacker.

“You’re in on the run and on the pass. You make plays all over the field,” he said. “My speed helps me in some situations with covering the outside, but I feel that speed doesn’t play a part when you’re on the inside or the middle of the field and they’re running between the offensive line.

“My speed isn’t getting me the tackles. It’s the effort I put in and the strength and the skills that I have.”

Osunsanmi is an effort guy.

“I don’t like to lose,” he said. “I make sure I put my all into everything that I have so I don’t have any excuse. And no one can come up and talk to me that I didn’t put my all into the game.”