In the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions selected a player that most casual fans had never heard of.
That player is James Houston, EDGE rusher out of Jackson State.
But Houston was not always an EDGE rusher. In fact, the University of Florida recruited him and eventually signed him as a linebacker. After all, Houston had been a dominant 3-star linebacker at the high school level, so it seemed like a good fit.
After playing three seasons with the Gators (100 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 31 games), Houston decided to transfer to Jackson State, where he would have the opportunity to play for NFL Hall of Fame CB, Deion Sanders.
Houston figured he would continue playing linebacker at Jackson State but Sanders had a different idea. Move Houston to the EDGE.
During a Jacksonville State football documentary, Houston and Sanders had a fiery (yet respectful) conversation about the decision to switch positions.
From Pride of Detroit: (The video is at the bottom of the post)
“I know the talent that I have,” Houston explained. “And y’all have put a cap on my talent, here. I know exactly what I can do.”
“James, let me tell you something,” Sanders countered. “If you were able to do that, you would have done that, and you would have never came here (to JSU). If you was that dude, that you think you are at linebacker, you would have never been here.”
“I feel that,” Houston acknowledged. “But I feel like I want to do more. I want to play inside, I want to help inside, I want to help outside. If I could go on offense, to help the offense, I’d play fullback and help y’all run the ball.”
“You don’t want to do that,” Sanders joked.
“I promise you,” Houston insisted, “I will crack somebody on the defense.”
Nation, this exchange between Houston and Sanders is a great example of the belief that Houston has in himself and it shows that he is willing to do whatever it takes to help his team win.
And that is exactly the type of player that Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell want on the Lions roster.