One of the great parts of this job is getting to talk to the quality young men who play high school football across the nation. Of the interviews I have done, few, if any of the players have been more impressive than Tobi Umodu. Tobi, who recently verbally committed to UCLA, does it all; He is the oldest of six siblings, carries a high GPA while taking upper division courses and is a three sport athlete. On the football field, Tobi has used his great quickness to post 17 sacks both his sophomore and junior seasons. At 215 pounds, Tobi does not have prototypical defensive end size and will probably move to outside backer at the college level. With his speed and athleticism that should be a relatively easy transition.
PrepCA: What were your stats from last season?
Tobi Umodu: 17 sacks, 79 Tackles, 1 fumble recovery and a pick.
PrepCA: What position are you being recruited to play in college?
Tobi: Outside linebacker
PrepCA: In South Hills current defensive alignment do you ever drop into coverage and if not do you feel you can adjust to dropping into coverage and playing in space at the college level.
Tobi: No, in our defense I do not drop into coverage. I have played in passing league so I can drop into coverage. It may take some getting used to, but it should be something I'm able to do.
PrepCA: What is your official height and weight?
Tobi: 5'11 215.
PrepCA: What is your greatest football memory?
Tobi: When I was a freshman I got moved up to varsity and we won CIF. I never thought that we would win one so quick in my first year in high school.
PrepCA: What are your personal goals for the upcoming season?
Tobi: To try to play smarter and not over pursue.
PrepCA: How are you preparing for the upcoming season? Will you attend any camps this summer? Have you gone to any combines? How did you do?
Tobi: I'm trying to get into the weight room more. Keep my conditioning up so I can go the whole game. I'm going in April to the USC combine and I will be attending the UCLA camp.
PrepCA: What aspect of your game have you really worked hard to improve? What area would you like to keep improving on?
Tobi: When locking out, using my strength instead of my speed. I usually use speed, but I want to work on contact and using my hands better.
PrepCA: Because you are such a good speed rusher, but weigh in at 215, do teams try to run the ball right at you to minimize your speed advantage?
Tobi: At the beginning of last season yes, but as the season went on they (other teams) saw that I did not get pushed back and I made tackles. So later in the season teams ran away from me.
PrepCA: Who are some of your teammates that people need to watch out for?
Tobi: We have a really good running back named Marquies Winbush. He was hurt a little bit last season so he did not play all the time but he still got over 1,000 yards. We have a good linebacker, Fred Glaster and Kyle Peterson the #2 punter in the state last year. Brian Slover just got moved to D-end from linebacker and should be very good.
PrepCA: Name one teammate you really respect and why?
Tobi: I respect Marquies, because he is not the biggest guy, but he is really strong. People underestimate him because he is small, but he is strong and fast.
PrepCA: Who is currently recruiting you? Do you have any offers yet? Who are your top 5?
Tobi: Besides UCLA, Oregon and Colorado are the biggest ones. Cal has sent me a few things. I'm pretty committed to UCLA, but I still want to take some visits to check them out. I have orally committed to UCLA, it is pretty solid, my family would like for me to go there. I just want to make for sure right now.
PrepCA: Who is the best player you ever played against? Why?
Tobi: Probably the best player or players I played against were from Westminster. They had really good linemen. Claremont had big, strong, linemen also.
PrepCA: Name one team who you really respect and why?
Tobi: I respected La Habra. They are not a big rivalry, but we played them in CIF and we came from behind and beat them and they handled it well.
PrepCA: South Hill finished 9-5 this past season. How are you going to improve on that record next year?
Tobi: Play better defense and not give up too many big plays. On offense just keep running the offense and do the things that are working.
PrepCA: What other sports do you play?
Tobi: I play basketball and track. In basketball we made it to the first round of CIF. In track I do the 200, the 4x100 relay and throw the shot put.
PrepCA: What are your best max lifts in the bench, squat, power clean and 40 yard dash?
Tobi: On the bench I have done 320, on squat I have done 465 and my best forty is a 4.66. Track is helping me a lot on my forty times.
PrepCA: How do you think your coach would describe you as a player?
Tobi: I think he would say I try to work hard all the time. I try to work hard every play and not give up.
PrepCA: What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Tobi: Use my talents to the fullest and not use them lightly. Use my attributers as best as I can use them.
PrepCA: Is it a goal of yours to play in the NFL?
Tobi: It has been one of my biggest dreams to play in the NFL and that is something I would really like to do. That has always been one of my dreams. But, if that does not work out there is always other things.
PrepCA would like to thank Tobi and his family as well as the South Hills coaching staff for helping set up this interview. As of right now, it looks like the Bruins are going to get a great football player and a quality young man.