The Texas Longhorns are well on their way to becoming a powerhouse program once again.
One of the biggest reasons for their turnaround was the play of 2019 NFL draft prospect Charles Omenihu and how he struck fear into the hearts of opposing blockers and quarterbacks alike.
A versatile, dominant playmaker, Omenihu was a one-man wrecking ball in 2018, establishing himself as one of the best defensive prospects in the 2019 NFL draft class.
Omenihu recently spoke exclusively with MCM about his experience at the combine, why he improved so much in 2018 from his junior season, and why he’ll be the best decision a team could make in the 2019 NFL draft.
JM: How would you grade your overall performance at the combine?
CO: I think I did alright out there. I felt like I really excelled in the position drills. I was doing that with the defensive line and linebacker position groups. I thought I did well in my vertical jump. I thought my shuttle times were pretty good. I’m gonna re-do the 40 yard dash and 3-cone at my pro day. I’ve tested faster in both of those drills previously so I know I can do better. I think I did pretty well overall though. I was really pleased with my position drills especially.
JM: You plan on improving on your 40 yard dash and 3-cone results at your pro day?
CO: Yes sir. I’m very confident that I can improve in both drills. I know I can do better because I did better throughout the training process. I’m definitely looking forward to that.
JM: How much of a successful pass rushing rep is accomplished pre-snap?
CO: I really think the process of becoming a great pass rusher is accomplished in the film room. I really do. When I’m rushing the passer, almost nothing is going through my mind. That’s the honest truth. My mind is blank. By that point, I’ve studied my opponent extensively. I’ve watched so much film on him that I know what he’s gonna do and how he’s gonna set up. I already know what I’m gonna do to beat it. I know all of this before we even step on the field.
JM: That’s amazing. Which pass rushers did you enjoy watching growing up?
CO: I watched a lot of DeMarcus Ware growing up. Recently I’ve watched more Joey Bosa, Chandler Jones and Aaron Donald. Bosa converts speed to power so effectively. He has so much strength in his hands. Jones has a lot of length and so do I. I love to study how he uses that length to his advantage. I watch a lot of Donald because I’ve come to the realization that some teams are gonna wanna use me inside in the NFL. He’s the best at rushing from the interior so I’d be silly not to study him and watch how he does it.
JM: I’m curious as to what you feel was the key to your development between your junior and senior seasons. I feel like you took a big step forward last year.
CO: I have to give a lot of credit to the strength coach. Coach [Yancy] McKnight does a great job. He helped me become a lot more explosive last year. He was very dedicated in his work with me. We especially worked on the mobility of my hips. I have to mention my defensive line trainer as well, coach [Charles] O’Neal. We have a lot of conversations over the phone and he helped me find three pass rush moves for me to use and perfect. We worked so hard on that all summer. It really paid off.
JM: That’s awesome. I just have to ask you this. What’s the best Breckyn Hager story you can tell me out loud? He’s quite the character.
CO: Oh man. Breckyn is most definitely a character. I say that in a good way of course. I’m trying to think of a funny story I can tell you on the record (laughs). I’ll say this about Breckyn. Everyone knew about his injury. He wore that elbow brace for a long time. This is a testament to how much he cares about the University of Texas. He calls me Charlie-man by the way. He came up to me and he goes, “Charlie-man, my elbow hurts but I’m out here fighting for you guys. The only way they’re getting me off this field is if my elbow pops out or dislocates completely... but even if it does, don’t tell them, because I’m still gonna play through it. I love you Charlie-man.” That’s a good dude right there. He’s a character but he cares about the team more than anything. He never puts himself first. He cares deeply about the game of football.
JM: You’ve had a lot of great teammates throughout your time at Texas, but I’m gonna put you on the spot a little. If you were headed to war tomorrow and could only bring one with you, who would you bring and why?
CO: Offense or defense?
JM: You can pick anyone you ever called a teammate.
CO: That’s incredibly difficult. Wow, this is a hard question. I would probably take DeShon Elliott with me. Or maybe Poona Ford. Definitely DeShon or Poona. DeShon has the same kind of attitude as me. He thinks he’s better than everybody and he’s gonna show you exactly why he’s better than you (laughs). He’s gonna keep telling you about it too. He backs it up. Poona is a high energy, high motor kinda guy. He’s a pure technician. You always need those guys around you. He takes on the underdog role and excels in it.
JM: That’s a great answer. In closing Charles, what kind of man is an organization getting when they draft Charles Omenihu?
CO: They’re getting an honest man first and foremost. They’re getting somebody that’s extremely dedicated to the game of football. They’re getting somebody who thoroughly enjoys winning and will do anything to help his team win a championship.