Charles Omenihu

Photo Credit: Juan Figueroa | Daily Texan Staff

Several key pieces of the 2017 Longhorn roster have already declared for the 2018 NFL Draft, but Texas isn’t losing every veteran on the team.

Junior defensive end Charles Omenihu announced Tuesday afternoon he will return to Texas and wear the burnt orange for his senior season.

“Although playing in the NFL is a dream of mine,” Omenihu said in a statement, “when I looked at the whole picture, I know how much more I can develop both as a player and as a leader, and that’s what I’m looking forward to doing under Coach Herman, Coach Orlando, Coach Giles and Coach McKnight.”

The defensive end from Rowlett, Texas, played in all 13 games this past season. He started in every matchup except the Longhorns’ 38-7 victory over Baylor on Oct. 28.

Omenihu showed much improvement under first-year Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando in 2017.

Omenihu recorded 28 tackles on the season with seven going for a loss. He finished tied for a team-high four sacks on the year. Omenihu also forced two fumbles, including a strip-sack of Missouri quarterback Drew Lock with 17 seconds remaining in the Texas Bowl to seal the Longhorns’ 33-16 victory.

And it appears that Texas’ first bowl win since 2012 is part of the reason Omenihu is returning for his senior season. Omenihu released a video on Twitter to announce his return, which included the words “Unfinished Business.”

But perhaps more importantly, Omenihu will now have the opportunity to earn his degree in sports management.

“I’m also on track to earn my degree, which is something that means so much to me, and I know how valuable a degree from UT will be to my future,” Omenihu said. “With that, the win we just had in the Texas Bowl has already started the momentum, and I can’t wait to get into the offseason program and help build the future of this program.”

Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

Despite the Longhorns’ 4-5 record, Texas has managed to put together a solid recruiting class for the 2015 football team and are on the trail for more players.

Texas currently has 18 players committed in the 2015 recruiting class, which consists of 10 three-star and eight four-star recruits, according to HornsDigest. The Longhorns could potentially land even bigger names for the upcoming recruiting class because of the improvements head coach Charlie Strong and the coaching staff have made to the program.

Texas appears to be an early favorite to land five-star outside linebacker Malik Jefferson, who would be the prize recruit for Strong’s first full-cycle recruiting class. The Longhorns have a chance at adding two running backs: four-star Chris Warren and four-star Nicholas Brossette, who is currently committed to LSU.

Additionally, the Longhorns may be able to bolster their wide receiver corps with four-star Ryan Newsome. Some other names to watch out for are five-star tight end Chris Clark, four-star middle linebacker Anthony Wheeler, four-star cornerback Kris Boyd and three-star center Tyler Moore.

Although Texas’ season hasn’t been great, recruits have noticed the changes and improvements the team has made throughout the season.

Current four-star quarterback commit Zach Gentry, who is from Albuquerque, New Mexico, is one of the many recruits who have seen the Longhorns get better this season.

“I’ve seen improvement every week,” Gentry said. “They’ve improved offensively, and their defense has been solid all year.”

But, others haven’t been so quick to praise Texas — three-star defensive end Charles Omenihu has been quick to point out some of the Longhorns’ faults.

“They’re very inconsistent offensively,” Omenihu said. “The defense had a bad game against Iowa State. Then came back again and had one of their normal games, where they hold up and hold up for as long as they possibly can, and then there’s a point where you can’t hold up any longer, and then you just end up losing. I just feel like the quarterback is not where he needs to be — neither is the offensive line.”

Omenihu isn’t alone. Some Texas commits are looking around at other schools, while other recruits are beginning to lose interest in the Longhorns.

Four-star receiver John Burt, a Texas commit, has visited Auburn and plans to go there again this weekend. Texas may be in trouble, as Burt has started to favor the Tigers.

The coaching staff told Newsome he is their next big wide receiver, but his future commitment is unclear.

“[Texas tells me that they] want and need me,” Newsome said. “I’m their number one guy for receiver.”

But Newsome has recently taken trips to Ole Miss and Tennessee and will be going to visit Oklahoma this weekend. The Longhorns may not be able to land Newsome.

While recruits have noticed Texas’ improvement, the Longhorns need to continue to get better, as they may lose out on some players because of their play. Texas needs guys like Jefferson, Newsome and Burt. And if it doesn’t keep getting better, it may not land these big recruits.