Zeke Riser‘s lifelong dream has been to play football for the Texas Longhorns–so much so that he’s decided to spend his own money and his final season of college eligibility fighting for a chance to play for the Horns.
Riser, a 6-foot-4, 255-pound defensive end, graduated from the University of Houston last December and is attending graduate school there this spring. He intends to transfer to Austin in May and join the Texas team as a walk-on.
In 27 games as a starter for the Cougars, Riser recorded 38 tackles, three sacks, and eight tackles for a loss. Now he’s hoping to get his chance to break into the starting line up at Texas next fall.
Though fellow defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat returns for the Horns this year after missing most of last season with an injury, the team will have to replace Alex Okafor, a potential first round pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Riser is hoping to help fill that spot, and he isn’t at all afraid of the competition, claiming that he has a lot to offer:
I’m definitely pumped up about it. If nothing else, I have a lot of experience to offer, especially with those younger guys. These guys are super talented; otherwise, they wouldn’t be at Texas- so me having already played three years, I can bring a lot of experience to the table.
I wouldn’t go to any place that I wasn’t expecting to compete for a starting spot. I’ve never sat on the bench in my life and I don’t plan to at Texas. I’m definitely going to be fighting for a starting spot and at the very least in the playing rotation. I’m not coming to Texas just because it’s a big name. I’m coming to Texas to play.
This young Texas defense is coming off one of their worst defensive seasons in the history of the program, and adding a defensive player with the experience and confidence of Riser can only help them as they try to turn things around.