Texas football gets lengthy, skilled 4-Star EDGE Zina Umeozulu

Pete Kwiatkowski, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Pete Kwiatkowski, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Texas football landed its 17th commitment in the 2024 recruiting class on Sep. 6, with the touted four-star Allen (TX) edge rusher Zina Umeozulu giving his pledge to UT. Umeozulu is also the second edge rusher to commit to Texas in the 2024 class, along with the elite Duncanville five-star Colin Simmons (who committed to UT on Aug. 10).

Umeozulu committed to Texas over the Texas A&M Aggies and Oklahoma Sooners. Texas was the longtime favorite in this recruitment as Zina’s brother, redshirt freshman OL Neto Umeozulu, is currently on the Longhorns football team.

Texas’ staff, namely defensive line coach Bo Davis and co-DC Pete Kwiatkowski, have great relationships with Zina and his family. Zina had plenty of opportunities to build relationships with Texas’ staff and the other players and top recruits in the 2024 class for the Longhorns after visiting Austin over a half-dozen times since last offseason.

Texas football lands touted 4-Star EDGE Zina Umeozulu over Texas A&M and OU

Head coach Steve Sarkisian also played an integral role in Umeozulu’s recruitment. He constantly communicated with Umeozulu, helping cement Texas’ spot as the leader among his top schools throughout the last year. Umeozulu talked about his relationship with Coach Sark and what he sees in Texas with On3 in a commitment preview earlier in the week.

"“I feel like everything that is required from me at Texas I can do and I believe in what Sark has built and his future there. Texas is also the best of both worlds when it comes to academics and football.”"

Umeozulu brings length and quickness off the edge

The 6-foot-4 and 225-pound edge rusher Umeozulu is a well-rounded athlete with excellent length and quickness. He’s got a large frame, a lengthy wingspan, and big hands. But his frame is a long way from being filled out. Umeozulu could still grow another inch and put on at least 20 or 25 more pounds of muscle mass.

Umeozulu has played multiple positions for Allen along the defensive front, from a true defensive end to inside linebacker. His length, quickness, and long stride allows him to cover a lot of field and excel while playing at many different positions along the front seven.

But Umeozulu’s most natural position is as a true edge rusher. He’s got great bend and flexibility. Umeozulu also boasts good straight-line speed, quick get-off at the line of scrimmage, and great closing speed in pursuit of the quarterback or the ball carrier.

At the point of attack, Umeozulu utilizes his natural bend, flexibility, and good hand placement to get to the quarterback or find the ball carrier. Umeozulu is also an instinctual defender with a nose for the football and how to find it.


However, what really separates Umeozulu from some of the other blue-chip edge rushers in this class is his effort and non-stop motor. You’ll never see Umeozulu give up on the play, resulting in a productive edge rusher in the pass rush and run defense.

According to MaxPreps, Zina registered nearly 90 total tackles, 15 tackles for loss, nine sacks, 19 quarterback hurries, and three fumble recoveries in the last two seasons for Allen.

Zina is constantly making plays around and behind the line of scrimmage in the pass rush and run defense. He’s able to diagnose plays around the line of scrimmage quickly and shed blocks to get to and bring down the ball carrier.

Another strong aspect of Umeozulu’s game is his ability to draw turnovers. He’s good at punching out the football. And he’s quick and instinctual enough to land on the ball when he has the opportunity.

Areas of improvement

We mentioned that Umeozulu needs to add muscle mass to fill out his frame. He would ideally get to around 240 or 250 pounds before he’s ready to compete at the Power Five level in college.

Umeozulu could also be more violent with his hand usage and approach at the point of attack in the pass rush and run defense. He can occasionally get bogged down against bigger and stronger offensive linemen.

As long as Umeozulu gets strong in the next 12 or 18 months and he can work on his hands and pad-level approach, he’ll be a solid contributor off the EDGE for the Longhorns for years to come.

Projection and fit at Texas

While Umeozulu has moved over to linebacker for his senior season at Allen High School, he still projects at the EDGE position for the Longhorns. If he can add the requisite muscle mass to his frame in the next year or two, Umeozulu will fit best likely at the buck position, given his length and quickness off the line of scrimmage.

Once Umeozulu fills out his frame, he should be ready to contribute by his second or third year on campus.

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