The Texas Longhorns defense will be full of talent this season, with NFL prospects at all three levels (including top CB prospect Kris Boyd). On their defensive line, there stands an impressive figure. Charles Omenihu is a towering 6’6 and all of 275 pounds, with an imposing frame seemingly built for the National Football League.
One name continued to pop into my head while watching Omenihu: DeForest Buckner. Now slow down, because this is not a 1:1 comparison. However, it was hard not to see similarities in their frame, length, and flexibility. Omenihu is slightly smaller than Buckner (6'7, 300 pounds), but built in a similar fashion and plays with certain traits that are reminiscent of Buckner at Oregon. These traits give Omenihu a high ceiling, one that an NFL team could bank on earlier than expected come draft time.
When it comes to Omenihu‘s on-field play, he does an outstanding job of using his length to keep distance between his frame and offensive linemen. It's one thing to possess elite length, but it’s another to use it to its full capacity with block shedding and proper hand usage. Omenihu is much closer to the latter, as his block shedding in the hole makes him an effective run defender. Omenihu uses his length in a variety of block destruction moves to discard offensive lineman, including a push-pull, long-arm, and rip.
Omenihu plays with impressive leverage for a taller defensive lineman, an ode to his flexibility and athleticism. He uses that leverage to generate interior pressure, either with length or when stunting into gaps. His long arms and tall frame allow for an effective swim move as he gets after the quarterback. Omenihu has shown decent bend around the edge for a taller rusher, and could become a versatile pass rusher that a defensive coordinator uses to expose matchups.
Omenihu projects as a 3-technique for the next level, and will likely continue to add some bulk to withstand stronger offensive lineman. Currently, he can give a step against the run as he reads the backfield. Added strength in his lower half could give him more of an anchor, as well as the ability to fight pressure with pressure and maintain his gap discipline. Omenihu seemingly had conditioning issues in 2017, giving more ground later in drives. He will need to prove to NFL scouts that his durability is up to par this season.
Omenihu went back to Texas to anchor their defense, and is primed for an opportunity to improve his draft stock. With all of his physical tools, don’t be surprised if Omenihu is a “riser” throughout the 2018 college football season or draft process.