Oshin of SAU, all business – on, off the pitch
St. Ambrose University football player DJ Oshin admits he has a curiosity about things that sometimes got him in trouble growing up.
“For me, I always wanted to create something new and create my own thing and not be held back by a boss,” said the junior from South Elgin, Illinois. “I remember when I was a kid I used to take things apart around the house and try to make my own products. Most of the time it didn’t work and I ended up trashing the TV and stuff like that.”
But that imagination has also served him well and positioned him well to become a mover and shaker – both on and off the football pitch.
As the starting nose guard for the Fighting Bees, he is literally at the center of the defensive attack.
Off the field, he makes the most of his vast opportunities as he works toward his college degree while serving in residents’ lives as a counselor and also running his own business.
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Yes, the 20-year-old, in addition to a full class load, AR duties and football, runs Black Oshin, a screen printing, embroidery and tufted rug manufacturing business with family members .
“My goal is to have the best custom clothing in the area; inexpensive quality,” he said.
Much of his business has actually been through the football team. He said position groups — especially offensive and defensive linemen — went to their teammate to hook them up with t-shirts and hoodies.
He said he is expanding his marketing reach and also trying to cater to other SAU athletic teams and clubs on campus.
“A lot of post groups have their own logo that I created and they helped me,” Oshin said. “They all have their position group shirts; they all wanted something like that.”
And he was there to make sure that happened.
A bit like he was on the football field.
As a downline player, Oshin does the dirty work for the Bees, making sure the guys behind him are capable of making plays.
Still, the 6-foot-240 pound holds his own against bigger offensive linemen. Over three games, Oshin — an honorable mention Midwest League selection from the Midwest Football Association — recorded nine tackles (five solo saves), added a tackle for loss and forced a fumble.
“He’s an animal…just relentless,” said SAU head coach Vince Fillipp, who served as the program’s defensive coordinator during Oshin’s first two years on college ball. “He’s not the greatest guy in the world, but he plays so hard, has this relentless engine. He does a phenomenal job for us.
“He’s obviously an important part of our defence. Being able to plug a guy like that right in the middle of your defense is serious business. We’re super excited to have him in our team, that’s for sure.”
With everything going on in his life, Oshin, selected as team captain this year, admits that football “is my number one priority”.
“He’s a guy who absolutely loves and needs football,” Fillipp said.
The coach laughs as he compares and contrasts the different DJs he knows.
“You see him in the classroom or walking around campus and he’s super quiet and he’ll smile at you,” Fillipp said. “But, man, when he comes onto the football pitch he can’t stop talking. He has a ton of energy and is a natural leader for us.”
These leadership qualities can also pay off down the road. He sees Black Oshin as a long-term operation with the help of his family, but he has other conquests on the horizon.
“It’s my job and I love doing it, but I think what I want to do eventually is get into construction; my dream goal is to have my own construction business,” said Oshin, who added that he had been spending part-time summer construction work in recent years. “It obviously prepares me for the next stage of owning a business and managing people.
“The goal is for someone to eventually take over (Black Oshin on a daily basis), but I would still supervise him.”
Oshin admits that the tinkering with ideas continues after always being curious and wanting to create the next big product.
He thought he had one of those defining ideas at some point.
“You can tell my mum about it, before smartwatches were a thing, I thought it was the newest invention and I loved it. … I took a mini I-pod and bracelets from it. shows super glued.
“For me it was literally a smartwatch before smartwatches were even a thing. I don’t even know how old I was – 10 or 11 maybe, something like that. It was my latest invention and I was a kid and I didn’t’ I don’t know what was going on with things. Now you look at smartwatches and it’s a million/billion dollar business. So…
“My mum was like ‘he’s just messing around.’ I told people about it and they all thought it was cool. I was 10 and didn’t know what I was doing. I just did it for me, really. Now, thinking about it, That would have been a million dollar idea right there.”
Oshin said his business acumen actually started during his freshman year at St. Charles North High School.
“It was just a few friends who wanted shirts and I said ‘Leave it to me,'” he said. “From there I was like ‘maybe I can make this a real thing.’ I talked to my parents and said “I’m going to start this” and then I went through the process to start obviously.
“From there it was really successful, especially in St. Ambrose. They helped me so much; the entrepreneurship major helped me so much with resources and networking. We had a lot of work to do.”
It led to a lot of success just like it produced on the football field.