Houston Texans: Interviewing intriguing NT Auzoyah Alufohai
By Jair Lopez
We had the opportunity to talk to one of Houston Texans’ most intriguing additions to their 2020 rookie draft class.
The Houston Texans landed one of the most tantalizing talents in Auzoyah Alufohai after the 2020 NFL Draft concluded. Alufohai was one of the coveted players still available in rookie free agency, but he revealed his reasoning of accepting the Texans offer for this upcoming season in an interview with the Toro Times.
Alufohai had an interesting path to the NFL being born in Houston but traveling a lot as his father worked as an engineer. He didn’t play the sport of football until his senior year of high school but garnered the attention of several Division I schools. However, his choices were reduced with academic issues due to the understandable demands of moving frequently.
Choosing to attend a fairly new football program in Kennesaw State, Alufohai played in 18 games at nose tackle in his first two seasons as he accrued 16 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and a half-sack as a rotational player. Although he broke into the starting lineup as junior and finished with 31 tackles through 14 games.
Alufohai switched schools after he was injured, and the NCAA declined to give him a medical redshirt for another season. The only option was to go down to a lower division where he went to West Georgia State, a school that has produced NFL talent that includes Houston Texans’ inside linebacker Tyrell Adams.
The Toro Times had the invaluable opportunity to have a conversation with Auzoyah Alufohai and realized he has a lot more ties to the city and the Houston Texans than at the surface level.
Q: The Houston Texans were among a lot of teams keeping close tabs on you throughout the process. What was the thinking process of choosing Houston over other NFL franchises?
A: Houston has a special place in my heart because that is my birth city, and I have a lot of family in Houston. I am also extremely excited to work with Coach [Anthony] Weaver.
Q: How did Coach Anthony Weaver and you meet through the draft process? As the new defensive coordinator and DL coach, did he tell you how you were going to be utilized?
A: I never got the chance to take a visit with the Texans because of everything that’s going on, but I was in contact with the Texans throughout the draft process. We discussed that I will be used heavily as a nose tackle.
Q: Have you been able to reach out to any of your new teammates? You also seem very proud of your Nigerian heritage, how awesome is it to have another person with a similar background in the defensive line as Charles Omenihu?
A: I spoke with a fellow West GA alum, Tyrell Adams. He is really excited to have another wolf as a Texan. Being a Nigerian American is something I have always been proud of. I always try to represent my culture in the highest manner. I am glad that there is another defensive line player with a similar background. I spoke with him [Omenihu] before committing to West GA. My D-Line Coach at West GA also coached Charles while he was in Texas.
Q: Scouts and coaches really took an interest in you after the Shrine Bowl game, where you were one of the better players through the process. Was your experience overall good, and when did you realize that your NFL dream was attainable?
A: The Shrine Bowl was an amazing opportunity. I got the chance to spend time with the amazing children at Shriner’s hospital. To be honest, the first time I stepped on the field I knew deep down this was my goal, but through hard work and prayer, it became a reality.
Q: You’ve mentioned in a previous interview that Akiem Hicks is one of your favorite players to watch film on. Is that a caliber of a player you feel you can become or what is your NFL comp that you feel best fits your game?
A: I don’t necessarily have an NFL comp, I try to learn from different players in the league, and Akiem Hicks happens to be my favorite.
Q: I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up your tweet of meeting Arian Foster that went viral. How was the experience of meeting one of the greatest Houston Texans UDFA signings at the time? Does it fuel or reassure you that the Texans have a good track record of finding talent beyond the seven rounds of the draft?
A: That was an amazing day [meeting Arian Foster], it is a good feeling knowing that the Texans take value in underrated players. I am ecstatic to be a Texan, and I am ready to put in the work.
The Houston Texans landed an intriguing defensive lineman that possesses the physical tools and the work ethic to earn a spot in this league. Houston does need help at nose tackle after D.J. Reader departed to the Cincinnati Bengals in free agency.
The Houston Texans have very little proven depth outside of Brandon Dunn, so Alufohai could come in and fit in that role. It will be interesting to see how Alufohai’s career unfolds in Houston, but he has made it this far and has a lot of room to continue to grow at the NFL level.