Defensive tackle Earl Mitchell was drafted by the Texans in the third round (81st overall) out of Arizona in April.
A Houston native, Mitchell (6-2, 295) was All-Pac 10 second team in 2009 after recording 6.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss. He spent the first two years of his Arizona career on offense at the fullback position.
With organized team activities beginning on Monday, we caught up with Mitchell for a "10 Questions" interview about what he's been doing since the draft, his thoughts on being drafted by his hometown team and more.
1. What have you been doing since the draft, and how have you been staying in shape?
"Right after I got drafted, I came back to Arizona to, one, just get rid of my things, and just to work. I came back and just kept working out with the team. That's what I've been doing to stay in shape, just working out here in Arizona."
2. What's it like being on campus with all your teammates even though you're done with your career there?
"It's a different feeling to not actually have class and just to be here. You get to appreciate the actual campus a little bit more. You see it differently now. But at the same time, it is kind of hard. I kind of have to walk around with a backpack just to feel regular like I used to."
3. Growing up in Houston and going to high school at North Shore, did you ever dream that you might one day be playing professional football in your hometown?
"It really didn't cross my mind, but now that it happened, it's real crazy. It's a good feeling just to know that I'll be so close to family and friends. A lot of people you don't really think of get in touch with you to congratulate you. Once it happened, though, it was one of the best things that's ever happened to me. Hopefully, everything pans out."
4. What's been the reaction from your family? How excited are they about the fact that you'll be able to stay in Houston?
"They were really excited. A lot of my family, they weren't able to come to my games out in Arizona, so they're extremely excited, extremely happy, and it's just a great milestone for my family. They're super excited and they're just ready to come to some games, finally."
5. I know you said on draft day that you've never been to Reliant Stadium for an NFL game, but you're a Houston guy. Have you ever been to the rodeo?
"(Laughs) I've been to a couple rodeos. I went to one as a kid at the Astrodome. I was in elementary school back then, though, so it's kind of a faded memory. Kind of vague to me now."
6. You probably know more about the Texans than most rookies since you're from Houston, but have you been reading up on the team much since the draft?
"Yeah. I've been doing a little more research just trying to figure out schematically the things that they do. It's similar to what I did in Arizona, which is a good thing. I've just been doing a little bit of research, getting ready to come in and work and learn the new terms. I'll be excited just to be a part of the team and to be able to become a student of the game some more."
7. As you'll find out soon enough, your new defensive line coach Bill Kollar is a pretty intense guy. What do you know about him so far?
"I saw him a couple of times on television, so I kind of saw how intense he is. I'm prepared kind of well for it, I think. Well, maybe I'm not. But just playing under Coach (Mike) Stoops, I got a little experience with that type of coaching, so I'm excited to be under it. I'm excited to learn from it because I know a little about him as far as his background in coaching and playing."
8. How would you describe your style of play? What do you think you do best?
"I feel like I play physical – in your face, getting my hands on the guy. My style of play, a lot of it's based on being raw and trying to use my speed just to make plays. I try to play fast and set the tempo using my speed. That's what I usually go with."
9. What kind of music do you listen to before a game?
"I listen to a little bit of rap. I usually listen to mostly Houston rappers, actually: Chalie Boy, Z-RO and Trey. And I learned a little bit of rock and roll from my teammates in Arizona. They showed me a little Metallica and a lot of other different things like that."
10. Off the field, what's something about you that might surprise people?
"I like to play around with music and make videos, and I like editing. That's usually what I do in my free time, mixing beats and stuff like that on my computer. I really don't go out at all, so that's a part-time hobby that keeps me busy."