Charles Omenihu talks his time at Texas, Super Bowl season, and 'boss' Steve Sarkisian

On3 imageby:Joe Cook02/26/24

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Former Texas Longhorns defensive end and current Kansas City Chief Charles Omenihu joined the Inside Texas YouTube channel to talk about his time on the 40 Acres with Charlie Strong and Tom Herman, what he was able to do for the Super Bowl champions, and his view of the program under Steve Sarkisian.

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Omenihu, ranked as the No. 383 overall prospect in the 2015 class, first spoke about how he ended up choosing Texas among a list of options that never let up throughout his recruitment.

“Coach Strong and Coach (Chris) Rumph,” Omenihu said. “I still have relationship with them today. Coach Strong was somebody I gravitated to as a father figure, somebody that was almost like a friend. Coach Rumph sewed it all together. Unfortunately, Coach Rumph was never able to coach me, but he did a good job of selling me on Texas.”

Omenihu committed early in the cycle on February 24, 2014 at a junior day. He said he thought about taking visits elsewhere and seeing more schools, but he looks back on his decision as the correct one.

“When I look back at it, that was the best choice for me,” Omenihu said.

There were a number of prospects in Texas’ 2015 class that were ranked higher than Omenihu including fellow pros Malik Jefferson and Kris Boyd, but also players who didn’t pan out in Austin like Chris Warren III, Ryan Newsome, and Cecil Cherry. That drove Omenihu to play with a chip on his shoulder, something he has done to this day.

“I think it’s how I’ve been my whole career,” Omenihu said. “Sometimes overlooked. I had to go the hard way to get the respect I deserve and I still feel that way going into year six in the league. I still feel like I’ve got to get that respect. I used it as motivation.”

He had a strong four-year career with the Longhorns, saving his best season for last. He earned Big 12 defensive lineman of the year honors in 2018 thanks to a season with 45 tackles, 18.0 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. That year was part of a 10-4 campaign that saw the Longhorns play for the Big 12 championship and defeat Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.

“It took me year after year, I got better and better, I got bigger and stronger and got faster,” Omeninu said. “I learned how to use my length. I remember my senior year from that Kansas State game on, I had a run where I was a disruptive force.”

In that game against the Wildcats, Omenihu had five tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, and two sacks. One of those sacks resulted in a safety that added two points to the Longhorns’ tally in a game that ended 19-14.

He had a strong season after that, posting at least 0.5 TFL in every remaining game. He famously sacked Kyler Murray in the Red River Shootout and gave a home run swing in celebration. He had a sack against Murray again in the Big 12 title game, a contest Omenihu said he played while battling a stomach flu. He ended his Texas career with a 2.0 TFL game against Georgia.

Charles Omenihu (Will Gallagher/IT)

“I love knocking off those who claim to be the best,” Omenihu said. “I love playing on the biggest stages and showing that I’m one of those types of players. It was fun. That started the confidence that I’ve grown into.”

In the 2019 draft, the Houston Texans selected Omenihu in the fifth round.

“The wait was long, an unexpected wait,” Omenihu said. “At the end of the day, I got my chance and it was satisfying and highly emotional.”

After spending two seasons in Houston, Omenihu was traded to San Francisco. He had 4.5 sacks in 26 games with the 49ers, and became a free agent after the 2022 season. He signed with the Chiefs in March of 2023 but was suspended by the NFL in August. That suspension was lifted in October, and in 11 games Omenihu had 7.0 sacks for KC.

“I was blessed enough to sign a decent deal for the market for D-linemen, and now I’m in Kansas City,” Omenihu said. “A great organization. Coach (Andy) Reid, Class A coach. Coach (Steve Spagnolo), Class A coach. Brett Veach, Brett Veach is my dude. I ride with Brent. Joe (Cullen), good coach.

“You’re with a Super Bowl winning team that just tries to do it the right way. The biggest way how I keep my chip on my shoulder now is I feel like I should be paid more. I feel like I should be in the discussions of, maybe not in the realm of the Myles Garrett or the Bosa. Maybe not in that discussion, but the second tier guys? The next tier? For sure I should be in that discussion.”

Omenihu made two massive plays in the most recent AFC Championship game, sacking Lamar Jackson and forcing a fumble. The play was a critical part of KC’s 17-10 win that sent them to the Super Bowl.

“Made the play, and I was feeling myself,” Omenihu said. “I felt good. I got a strip-sack in the second quarter, looks like a game where you’re going to have two of them.”

But Omenihu would tear his ACL and miss the Super Bowl.

“Next play, read option, tried to meet him at the spot,” Omenihu said. “Got there, and as I got there he’s cutting back. I planted, and it went. I didn’t think I tore my ACL at that point. Maybe I did something crazy and it was a tweak and I’d be able to come back. Fast-forward, they do the MRI and my ACL is torn. I was in shock.”

Omenihu is working through the rehab process, something he discusses in detail in the video.

Before the conversation is finished, Omenihu talks about his thoughts on Sarkisian and the future of the program.

“Sark is a boss,” Omenihu said. “Sark is a boss. I think if they don’t give this man a lifetime contract, they’re sick. The fact that he brought them to the College Football Playoff… Even before this I was telling people believe in Sark. He’s done it. He knows what it looks like. He knows what a NFL team is supposed to like like. He knows what a college team that is a NFL team is supposed to look like. He knows what a good quarterback looks like. He knows what good receivers look like. He knows the blueprint. Just let him do his thing.”

He also has high hopes for two players on the edge for Texas

“That boy from UTSA (Trey Moore) and Colin Simmons,” Omenihu said. “They had two defensive tackles that’s going to be first or second-round picks. Then, they have two defensive ends that are going to be first-round picks, second-round picks.”

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Check out the video, linked above, for more from the most recent Longhorns Super Bowl champion.

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