Diamond in the Rough

Kevin Umejei has been playing organized football for just three years now. The 6-foot-1, 275-pounder plays linebacker and fullback for Albertus Magnus High in Bardonia, New York. Athletically, Umejei is a freak of nature who is going to make a school very happy when he decides where to play his college ball. No written offers yet but Umejei says Virginia Tech is his dream school.

It's not every day you come across a 6-foot-1, 275-pound kid who can dunk a basketball, bench press 405-pounds, squat 565-pounds and run the forty in 4.7-seconds. Umejei also says he can bench press 185-pounds a whopping thirty-six times. With numbers like these, it is not hard to tell why Division I schools are beginning to take notice.

Kevin has been a little frustrated lately by the lack of exposure he has been getting and has taken matters into his own hands.

"I go to a pretty small high school, and I have only been playing football for three years now, so I am doing everything I can to get my name out there. I am now working with Mike Foti, who is the founder of Five-Star Recruiting. He is helping me so much. He even has my information on his website, www.fivestarrecruiting.net. Matt has helped a bunch of guys get scholarships, (including former USC Trojan Brian Cushing) so right now he is editing my highlight tape and we'll be getting that out as soon as it's done."

Umejei is a little heavy at 275-pounds to play middle linebacker, but his coach says he will stay in the middle so that he can help the defense as much as possible.

"My coach knows that I am being recruited to play defensive tackle, but he says I will help our defense the most by staying at middle linebacker. I have been practicing on my own and getting used to starting off with my hand on the ground, but for now I have absolutely no problem staying at middle ‘backer. I am all about doing whatever I can to help our team win. Coach has told me that I will play all over the field next season. I am going to get some work at linebacker, defensive end, and defensive tackle. Coach knows I am being recruited to play defensive tackle, but he also wants me to show teams how versatile and athletic I am. "

Kevin has been getting a lot of interest from Purdue, Iowa, Syracuse, Boston College, Central Florida, and Rutgers. He will be in attendance at Rutgers Spring Game Saturday.

He has also taken a visit to Boston College for a junior day. "I really liked the whole atmosphere up there at BC. I stayed in a hotel for two days and got to see a lot. I saw them practice and liked the pace and intensity they showed. I really didn't think they would be so intense so far away from the season, but they were really getting after it. Their coaches were very positive with their players. They were pushing the team pretty hard but they weren't talking negatively at all, it was all up-tempo, positive criticism. I also had the chance to meet future first round pick B.J. Raji. He was really nice to me and told me I had good size, he thought I would fit in well at the nose tackle spot he played there."

"I have been working out and practicing my technique at defensive tackle a whole lot," says Umejei. "I am good friends with (fellow 2010 standout) Danny Foose. He has been helping me almost every day. He has worked with me on developing my rip move and my swim move. I am getting more and more comfortable and my confidence level has gone through the roof. I have only been playing football for three years now. My freshman year was a little rough. I have played basketball my whole life so I was so used to any contact being a foul, it was a big adjustment remembering that I was allowed to hit people as hard as I wanted. My coach tells me that middle linebacker is one of the hardest positions in football to learn, and he is very impressed that I not only picked it up so quickly, but also that I have improved so much every single year."

Kevin says he has a top five but does not favor one school over any of the others recruiting him.

"I would say my recruiting is wide open right now. I am willing to go play anywhere. I am planning to visit Central Florida sometime this summer, and I will go to school anywhere. I'm willing to go out to Oregon if they want me out there. Right now I am just trying to learn everything I can about the schools who are showing interest in me so I can make the right decision when it's time."

Whichever school lands Umejei is going to get a terrific athlete and has the chance to mold him into exactly the kind of defensive tackle they want. The best thing for him might be to redshirt his freshman year so he has a chance to adjust to a new position in college and prepare himself for domination.

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