Cullen Gillaspia Jersey

Cullen Gillaspia is a running back out of Texas A&M and has a tough road ahead of him to find his spot on the roster of the Texans, though he does have talent in various aspects of the game to make his mark this offseason.

Gillaspia was the Texans’ seventh round pick and he joins a running back roster that is looking for a solid third option behind Lamar Miller and D’Onta Foreman, who are the top two running backs currently on the roster.

Also the Texans passed on running back Kerrith Whyte, Jr. with this pick, who also has very nice speed. He was drafted two picks later by the Chicago Bears, and is a player who could produce in the special teams with his Pro Day 40-yard dash time of 4.37, meaning Gillaspia might become compared to Whyte Jr. this offseason by fans of the Texans.

One way Gillaspia could make the roster besides playing on offense for the Texans is to be used on special teams, and Lance Zierlein of NFL.com wrote this of Gillaspia in his draft profile of the running back:

“His fearless playing style and soft hands are both positive traits in his conversion from linebacker to fullback, but he may be too far away from a true positional fit to make a team as a special teams demon.”

Though Gillaspia didn’t return any punts or kickoffs in 2018, he did have three kickoff returns in ’17, though he averaged only nine years per return. That said, he still possesses the speed to work his way to being a positive for the special teams, which the Texans could use. At his Pro Day, Gillaspia had a 40-yard time of 4.57.

This was an interesting pick to say the least as my thoughts were the Texans would have selected a running back a little earlier in the draft, but now it looks as though Miller and Foreman are the top choices for the Texans at running back up to this point of the offseason.

Xavier Crawford Jersey

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Xavier Crawford is headed to Houston.

With the No. 195 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Crawford was selected by the Houston Texans.

Now that the cornerback has been picked in the sixth round, the cornerback is expected to join post-draft rookie minicamp with the Texans in early May.

Crawford is the second player from Central Michigan to be selected in the draft, as fellow cornerback Sean Bunting went No. 39 overall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on April 27.

While Bunting stuck with CMU throughout his college years, Crawford’s route was a bit different as a graduate transfer from Oregon State for the 2018 season. He came to the Chippewas after finishing his undergraduate degree in three years.

Both Bunting and Crawford gave up their final year of eligibility to enter the draft, and the pair were on the First Team All-Mid-American Conference defensive group for their performances last campaign.

Crawford took a redshirt in his first year at Oregon State and immediately found the field in 2016 as a redshirt freshman. He logged 70 tackles, two tackles for a loss, one sack, 10 passes defended and one forced fumble.

In 2017, he registered 17 tackles and two passes defended in five games before going down with a season-ending back injury. Then, Crawford made the move to Mount Pleasant.

The 5-foot-11, 187-pound defensive back posted 24 tackles, three tackles for a loss, one interception, 12 passes defended and two fumble recoveries for the Chippewas. Crawford ranked No. 1 in the MAC for his 12 passes defended.

While Bunting and Crawford have found their future through the draft, a few other Chippewas are expected to be picked up as undrafted free agents. Those players should begin to emerge on Saturday evening after the final round is complete.

Charles Omenihu Jersey

The 2019 NFL Draft is now just one day away, and the Texas football program should be very excited about the possibility of having a first or second round pick coming off the Forty Acres. This is an interesting event for fans of the Longhorns to follow along with. Former Texas defensive end Charles Omenihu is possibly the most prominent draft prospect coming off the Forty Acres too.

All in all, the Texas Longhorns football program should be sending around four or five players into the actual seven rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft. There will be a host of undrafted free agents that the Longhorns will see get picked up by various NFL teams in the weeks that follow the draft itself.

However, Charles Omenihu is the most likely player among all the former Longhorns in this draft class to go either on day one or early in day two. In all likelihood, Charles Omenihu will go in day two in the 2019 NFL Draft. But, there is still a chance that a team reaches for him late in the first round despite this loaded draft along the defensive line.

The first round of this draft will mainly highlight defensive linemen. Since this isn’t the strongest quarterback and running back class we’ve ever seen, so a lot of the attention will fall to prospects on the defensive side of the ball in general.

This class is fairly potent and deep at linebacker, but the secondary is lacking in depth too. Yet, Charles Omenihu is a name to watch to likely creep into the second or third round. The final seven-round 2019 NFL Mock Draft from CBS Sports before day one itself had Charles Omenihu falling at No. 55 to the Miami Dolphins.

Any team that needs a lengthy and strong pass rusher that fits very well into a 3-4 scheme scheme in the NFL needs to take a look at Omenihu. The reigning Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year has the potential to come in and make an impact right away. He could even win a starting role during his rookie campaign.

Few defensive ends will come in with the maturity level of the former Longhorn Omenihu. He has multiple years of starting experience under two head coaches on the Forty Acres. He was a recruit of former Texas head coach Charlie Strong and finished his collegiate career under Tom Herman. He’s certainly a big player to watch starting on April 25 in this 2019 NFL Draft.

Kahale Warring Jersey

The Texans spent the 2019 NFL Draft selecting interesting developmental players. Tytus Howard is a mysterious exoplanet who exists in the shadows of the solar system. Max Scharping has to learn how to use his hands correctly and fix his pass set to stop turning and shielding. Lonnie Johnson Jr. is strength and length, but doesn’t know how to use it, and needs to figure how how to overwhelm receivers at the line of scrimmage and play the ball in the air. In the third round the Texans didn’t find a weekend project, a post divorce All-American red muscle car, a picnic table that will never be sealed and painted, orange ceilings are going to remain popcorned forever. Kahale Warring will walk in, and play right now, right away.

In the Mountain West Conference Warring was an overwhelming athlete. This is important. When watching players from smaller conferences, they have to jump off the screen, and appear different than their peers. Warring is this. Unlike some tight ends that groan and ache off the line of scrimmage, Warring was a sling shot as he sprinted past the second level of the defense. He jumps off the line from a two point stance, finds a hole in the zone, and comes back to the quarterback. Six yards on second and ten from a tight end is refreshing.

Warring scorched linebackers who were stuck trying to cover him. He could run around their jam, unfazed, thanks to a ridiculous size, strength, and speed combination. At the top of his route he’d lose linebackers once he made his break. He exemplifies the old adage that depicts the importance of tight ends. He’s too fast for linebackers, and too strong for defensive backs. Off the play action he teleports around an inept jab and snags the corner route.

Play action off the jet sweep, hmmmm, looks like something the Houston Texans would run. Warring is lined up on the right side of the line of scrimmage in a two point stance against the sweatpantsuit linebacker in man coverage. This is a perfect wheel route. Warring gets wide to create space then utilizes his speed to separate from the linebacker. When he turns and runs he loses the linebacker. There’s nothing worse than a pass catcher who can’t catch and routinely allows the ball to come into his chest. Warring yanks up, high points the ball in a crowd of three, makes the catch, and backs his way into the endzone.

Max Scharping Jersey

For the second straight day, the Texans picked an offensive lineman in the 2019 NFL Draft.

A night after they selected Alabama State tackle Tytus Howard in the first round, Houston used the 55th overall pick on Northern Illinois offensive tackle Max Scharping. The 6-6, 327-pounder was picked one spot after the Texans other second-rounder, cornerback Lonnie Johnson, Junior of Kentucky.

The Green Bay, Wisconsin started every game of his college career, 53 in all, and he said he’s “very happy” to be a Texan. The past two seasons Scharping was a left tackle, after spending his sophomore year at right tackle. He split time between right guard and right tackle as a freshman. He was also a three-time All-MAC selection.

Getting better up front offensively has been a priority for the organization, and Scharping looks forward to blocking for quarterback Deshaun Watson.

“He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the League,” Scharping said. “He’s a great person to be able to protect for. He’s athletic. He can move throughout the pocket, and he’s got a great arm. I can’t wait to be one of the guys protecting him.”

During a conference call with the Houston media, he said he’s comfortable playing inside or outside on the line.

“Whatever they need me at, I’ll be available to play guard or tackle,” Scharping said.

The newest Texan said he grew up watching defensive end J.J. Watt play his college ball at Wisconsin. Scharping and his family are also excited about the Texans getting to practice with the Packers before the preseason opener in August.

“It will be an amazing opportunity for me and my family to see me play in Lambeau early on in my career,” Scharping said. “I can’t wait for that.”

The Texans next selection is in the third round at 86th overall.

Lonnie Johnson Jersey

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Josh Allen drew the bulk of the Kentucky football NFL draft attention with a top-10 selection Thursday, but now the rest of the 2019 draft class is ready to send a message about the depth of the program.

Senior cornerback Lonnie Johnson became the second Wildcats selected Friday when the Houston Texans took him with the No. 54 overall pick in the second round. Allen was drafted No. 7 overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday.

As many as nine members of Kentucky’s 10-win 2018 team could be drafted this weekend.

“Lonnie is going to be a great pro,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said before the draft Thursday. “He’s got so much upside. You can’t help but look at him and watch him play and like him and want him on your team. It’s just a matter of how high and what pick, but he’s going to be a great pro and has got a lot of upside.”

Johnson’s senior statistics at Kentucky (23 tackles, one interception, four pass breakups) do not jump off the page, but at 6-foot-2, 213 pounds he boasts impressive size for a cornerback and proved his speed by running a 4.52-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine.

The Gary, Indiana native is still relatively raw compared to many high-level draft prospects thanks to three years in junior college, including one away from football in 2016 while working to qualify to enroll at an FBS program.

“He has just come from a difficult circumstance and has overcome and won in junior college,” Stoops said. “Since he has been on campus, I have not had to have one difficult conversation with him. He has handled his business every day that he has been here. He goes to class. He graduated early. He works hard. He spent three years being a corner. He has great upside. I am not saying he is perfect, but he has done everything right since he has been here. I just have great appreciation for him and he has great upside because he is still learning the game.”

Tytus Howard Jeresy

Tytus Howard may have been a surprise to fans and media, but the scouting community has been aware of his talents for quite some time.

Texans general manager Brian Gaine plucked the offensive tackle from Alabama State with the 23rd overall pick on Thursday evening, and he said the first-rounder has been on a lot of teams’ radars for awhile.

“He was a guy that the whole National Football League knew about as early as the month of June and then when you went and saw him play in August and September and the early portions of the fall, you saw a good-looking prospect,” Gaine said. “Like I said, he passed the test at every stage of our evaluation. Happy to have him.”

Alabama State is a member of the SWAC, but before conference play began last fall, Howard acquitted himself well in a non-conference matchup against Auburn.

He continued impressing the NFL scouting community throughout the season and in the pre-Draft process, and Howard never doubted his capabilities.

“I was expecting first round,” the newest Texan said, when asked how high he thought he might get drafted.

Gaine, who reeled off all of Howard’s impressive physical qualities in a Thursday evening press conference after the first round, also is impressed with the first-rounder’s mental game on and off the field.

“The best selections, I know I have said this in the past, are the ones where you have a guy that meets the physical profile with the intangible profile and we like that profile on offensive lineman, especially,” Gaine said. “He’s going to be a good addition to what I would say the offensive line room. He’s going to be a very good addition in terms of the football personality in the offensive line room.”

Gaine and the Texans will add more to the roster tonight. They own the 54th, 55th and 86th overall picks.

Brandon Dunn Jersey

Houston Texans general manager Brian Gaine and the front office continue to make moves at the start of free agency and have re-signed defensive lineman Brandon Dunn and Joel Heath. The Texans depth at the defensive line was one of their strongest and deepest position last season. Being able to retain most of their core after more than half of the group was hitting free agency is an impressive move by Gaine.

Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reported that the Texans have extended Dunn to an original round $2.025 million tender.

Signing Dunn to a contract extension was a no brainer after he was able to do all the dirty work in the trenches and able to take on double teams and allow the linebackers to get to the running backs. He was a great rotational defensive lineman and one of the Texans strongest players against the rush.

Dunn finished the 2019 season starting in10 of the 14 games he played and had one of his most productive seasons in a Texans uniform. He had 24 combined tackles, four tackles for loss, and one forced fumble. Dunn had a notable playoff appearance against the Indianapolis Colts, he finished the game with one tackle, a pass deflection, and an interception.

According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, Heath also signed an extension after expected to be a restricted free agent, he signed a one-year contract extension worth slightly less than the original $2.025 million original round tender.

Heath was a reserve defensive lineman that was too talented to let go of. His biggest issue to this point has been staying healthy, but his skill at the position and knowledge of the defense were pluses moving forward. He finished the season only playing in five games and accruing five tackles.

Christian Covington is the only remaining free agent that the Texans have in the defensive line and it seems less likely for the Texans to resign him with them already retaining Dunn, Heath, and Angelo Blackson.

Jordan Thomas Jersey

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Sophomore second baseman Jordan Thomas has been named Conference USA’s Player of the Week after an outstanding performance in the softball team’s weekend series.

Thomas’ performance led the Hilltoppers to win two of three games against conference opponent North Texas to take their fourth straight C-USA series.

Thomas went 4 for 9 at the plate this weekend with five runs scored, three runs batted in, three home runs and a double. She scored one home run in each of the three games and now has seven on the season.

The Hilltoppers won the second game on Saturday 3-1, in which Thomas scored all three runs for WKU. She went 2 for 3 at the plate and collected a walk and stolen base.

Thomas hit .444 and posted a slugging percentage of 1.556. She also had a perfect fielding percentage at second base this weekend.

“What a weekend Jordan Thomas had for us at the plate and in the field,” head coach Amy Tudor said in a press release. “She set the tone for us in a big way. It is so special to me that she was honored as Player of the Week for her performance as she wore ‘Cat’ for my mom on the tape on her arm all weekend. I am so proud of her and her performance; she is well-deserving of this honor.”

Vyncint Smith Jersey

Vyncint Smith was a college sophomore when he had an ambitious idea.

The South Carolina native had no inkling at the time that he would wind up briefly washing cars, years before his arrival in the NFL and experiencing the thrill of catching a touchdown pass last Sunday from Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Following a promising season at Division II Limestone College, Smith was dissatisfied with his partial scholarship. He left school with intentions of walking on at South Carolina.

“I was paying too much money,” the Texans’ speedy rookie wide receiver said Wednesday.

The situation took an awkward turn, though, when Smith learned that his release from his scholarship prevented him from transferring to any college within the state of South Carolina.

So, Smith missed a semester of school and got a job detailing cars in his hometown of Columbia, S.C. It wasn’t a glamorous job. Washing and waxing cars, Smith took pride in his temporary profession.

“I was the best,” Smith said. “I was just working. I did that all semester.”

When Limestone hired former Detroit Lions wide receiver Mike Furrey as the new head coach, Smith’s fortunes and future took a major turn. He received a full scholarship.

“Shoot, I didn’t have to pay anything,” Smith said.

The return to Limestone ultimately paved a path to Smith emerging as an all-conference selection who caught the Texans’ eye during a workout at, of all places, the South Carolina campus where he had wanted to play football. With New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and the majority of the NFL teams watching last spring, Smith ran the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds.

The Texans recruited Smith hard, bringing him in for an official visit prior to the draft. Wide receivers coach John Perry called during the later rounds of the draft and general manager Brian Gaine stayed in touch with Smith’s agent, Adam Seifer, reminding him about the opportunity the Texans were offering.

Smith chose the Texans over several teams, including the Chicago Bears, whose receivers coach is Furrey, the New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills. The Texans made Smith their prize undrafted free agent, signing him to a three-year, $1.72 million contract that included $35,000 guaranteed through a $10,000 signing bonus and guaranteeing $25,000 of his base salary.

“Houston took the time during the offseason to bring me in and talk to me,” Smith said. “I felt comfortable.”

Now, the Texans and Smith are feeling even better about that decision.

When five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, acquired in a midseason trade from the Denver Broncos, ruptured his Achilles tendon on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, it ended his season. The injury also created a need for Smith to begin playing opposite All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

Smith caught a 35-yard pass from Watson, tapping his cleats inbounds in the back of the end zone to briefly give the Texans a lead during the fourth quarter of a 32-30 loss to the defending Super Bowl champs.

The touchdown showed off Smith’s speed, concentration and hands. It proved he’s absorbing a lot of knowledge from Hopkins, Thomas along with Will Fuller before he tore his anterior cruciate ligament.

“Vyncint is a guy that’s been quiet,” Watson said. “A rookie that has learned so much from the guys that’s been in that locker room that have played a lot of ball. Vyncint has been watching and improving each and every week. Hasn’t said a word, hasn’t had one complaint, just kind of been working and has been patient.

“Whenever his opportunity came on Sunday, he took advantage of it and he made a big play for us. He’s a guy that we’ve all been watching and knew that whenever his opportunity came we could trust in him and he knew what to do.”

Indeed, Smith did. He caught the football in stride. And his telephone and social media have been exploding ever since with congratulatory messages.

“My phone has been on fire,” Smith said. “Friends I haven’t talked to in years. Mom and dad, my parents, they’re excited. They always believed in me.”

Lightly recruited out of high school, Smith got letters of interest. He had no scholarship offers. He heard from Richmond, Coastal Carolina, Appalachian State, UNC-Charlotte and South Carolina, but nothing concrete emerged.

So, Smith made the best of his situation at Limestone. He caught 153 career passes for 2.371 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Prior to the NFL draft, Smith built some buzz. He visited the New York Jets and worked out privately for the Atlanta Falcons, Lions and Dallas Cowboys. He had private meetings with the Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Chargers, Baltimore Ravens and Seahawks.

Texans coach Bill O’Brien credited Gaine and his staff and assistants for discovering and wooing Smith.

“In my opinion, level of competition is part of the evaluation,” O’Brien said. “So, a guy that’s played in the SEC for three or four years, relative to a guy who, with all due respect, and I love Limestone – but a guy that played at Limestone, it’s just different. It’s going to be a different level of competition relative to getting ready to play professional football.

“Since the day Vyncint walked in here, he’s a very hard-working guy. I don’t think he’s ever missed a practice, takes notes in the meetings, pays attention. Great guy, really a focused individual, and he’s improved because of that.”

Limestone is a private Christian liberal arts school in Gaffney, S.C. They list 1,012 students as of this semester.

And Smith is the only player in the NFL from Limestone.

“It’s really cool,” Smith said. “All my teammates I had from there, they look up to me in some way, somehow and say I’m doing something that was hard to imagine.”

Surrounded at his locker stall by cameras and reporters Wednesday, Smith smiled and expressed hope that his first NFL touchdown is just the beginning.

“I hope it springboards trusting me,” he said. “Giving me more chances to make plays.”

Watson is already a believer. He didn’t hesitate to lob the football in his direction in the clutch.

“For him, being able to step up in that moment, I think it gives him a lot of confidence to be able to know that he can come in and perform at this level,” Watson said. “This is what he’s been working for his whole life. All the time and hard work he’s been putting in since training camp, throughout the season, is finally getting to show and his opportunity’s going to come.”