After one heck of an NFL debut, it just makes sense to highlight Detroit Lions’ rookie linebacker James Houston.
The 24-year-old was born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He attended American Heritage High School before committing to Florida over offers from Wisconsin, South Carolina, Michigan, and Miami. Houston played four seasons with Florida before transferring to Jackson State.
In his final collegiate season and only season with the Tigers, Houston recorded 70 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, 16.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, two defensive touchdowns, and one interception. After college, he was selected in the sixth round, 217th overall in the NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions.
Houston spent all season on the practice squad before his number was called to play in the Lions’ traditional Thanksgiving Game on November 24th. In that game, Houston recorded two sacks and a fumble recovery becoming the only Detroit Lion in history to record a multi-sack game in their NFL debut. On November 28th he was signed to the Active Roster. It was a move Dan Campbell says he couldn’t wait to make.
“We found a spot in a hurry for that.”
The rookie spoke briefly after the game. With a huge smile on his face, all he could say was how grateful he was for the opportunity.
“I mean, on Thanksgiving, just very thankful. Very thankful and grateful God put me in this position. I talked to him this morning and last night, I just told him I’ll give him the glory. He gave me the power and the speed and all that, I’m giving him the glory. It’s really all God.”
James Houston Has Skill
Coach Campbell had nothing but great things to say after his performance. The coaching staff talked for weeks about the possibility of activating this player, and when it was time, he showed up. Campbell credited Houston’s confidence saying they always knew something was there.
“I think anytime you’re a young guy and you have these – you have this idea in your head of what you can be, right? What you’re going to do the first time you step on the field, it doesn’t always work that way. But I think for him – for five snaps I think it went about the way he thought it was going to go which – so, it’s not always going to be that way. But yet, his confidence in his own ability and really on us just – we knew there was something there. There is something about him as a rusher, and he’s – every week just gotten better and better. He’s put in the work, which is a credit to him.”
Houston will now gear up for yet another game at their home field, this time against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Defensive Coordinator Aaron Glenn says they are just hoping to keep him on track and away from the hype of his first game.
“Here’s the deal – and I know you guys are putting him out to be the next Lawrence Taylor, I got it, but man, this player has skill. He still has a ways to go, and we’re going to make sure we protect him from himself and from all this everybody out there just trying to do all the hype right now. And that’s our job is to make sure we give him the best chance to be the best football player he can be, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Kick-off at Ford Field on Sunday is at 1pm ET.
Maddy Miller – Detroit Lions Beat Reporter
On Twitter: @madelynvmillerr
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