Editor’s Note: This is part of a weekly series looking back at past Texas athletes and where they are now. This week features former defensive end Julian “Kiki” DeAyala, who played for Texas from 1979-1982.
You can find Julian “Kiki” DeAyala’s name at the top of most Texas pass rush records.
He recorded 40.5 sacks in his Longhorn career. The next most, Tony Degrate, has just 31.
DeAyala recorded 22.5 sacks his junior year, and the next highest season total record behind him for Texas is 14.
He also owns the Texas record for most tackles for a loss in a season and quarterback pressures in a year and season.
“You don’t think of it that way until later in life, and history judges you,” DeAyala said. “All I know is I worked hard.”
In his time at Texas from 1979-1982, he earned All-Southwest Conference and was the Southwest Conference Defensive Lineman of the Year in 1982.
“I kind of found a niche for what I did,” DeAyala said. “Sometimes, a light goes on, and you figure out how to defeat the pass blocker. I did a lot of film studying and understood his tendencies. I could almost tell exactly when they were going to pass the ball from their formations.”
Yet, despite all his accomplishments, he is relatively unknown today as he took a different path than most dominant college football players.
With his college success, DeAyala was drafted in both the NFL and United States Football League (USFL) drafts. So, he had a choice to make: the Cincinnati Bengals or the Houston Gamblers.
“At the time, the USFL was paying certain players more than the NFL was offering, so I signed with Houston with a chance to play in my home city, where the money was better,” DeAyala said.
He led the Gamblers defensively in their only two years of existence, enjoying success as he was voted to the first All-USFL team.
But, after just two years, the USFL folded and DeAyala returned to the Bengals on a two-year deal. After two quiet years, two shoulder surgeries and six knee operations, he chose to follow a different career path.
“During the offseason, I started working for a commercial real estate company,” DeAyala said. “When I retired, it was a smooth transition right into commercial real estate.”
For eight years, DeAyala worked in commercial real estate, but, in 2000, he started his own company, De Ayala Properties, and began developing real estate. His projects have ranged from the Laredo Entertainment Center, to multiple projects in San Antonio. Now, the majority of his time is spent at The Islands of Rockport, a new, gated waterfront community, as he is in the midst of this 10-year project.
He thought about coaching competitive football but, ultimately, stayed away from it. Instead, he coached his three kids as they grew up and supported them until they left the nest.
“I have very fond memories of football,” DeAyala said. “It’s a lot of work. You look back now, and it’s been close to 30 years, and you realize how you did it — all the work, effort, playing with injuries, the schedule [and] playing against great athletes, and everyone has the same goals. You wonder how you did it. But, no, I don’t miss [football].”