When Jalen Pitre saw the 832 number on his phone on NFL Draft night, he assumed it was one of his family members calling him. He never expected to be drafted by the Houston Texans.
"I never even thought or imagined that I would be able to play, you know, in my backyard," Pitre told Texans Radio. "So it's been wonderful so far and I'm loving it."
The Stafford native finding himself at home not only in Houston, but in Lovie Smith's defense. Pitre, selected in the second round with the 37th overall draft pick, wrapped up his first offseason program last month. He quickly earned first-team reps with the defense and praise from Smith for having a "knack for the football."
"I feel very confident. I'm taking my job really serious," Pitre said. "I'm studying each and every night, making sure that I know every call that is on the playbook and being able to speak to my teammates in the correct language. I think when you're able to do that, then you're able to play a lot faster and see the things that you need to see. So, it's been wonderful, like I said, and I'm enjoying it."
Pitre says he fell in love with the process during his career at Baylor. The Texans rookie helped lead the Bears to a 10-5 finish last season, the best record in Bears' program history, and a No. 5 ranking in the nation. In his final season, Pitre started 14 games as a Star DB, a safety/linebacker hybrid. He was the only player in Big 12 with 10-plus tackles for loss and two interceptions, earning 2021 Big-12 Defensive Player of the Year honors and named First-Team AP All-American.
"It meant the world to me," Pitre said. "You know, it showed me that the process really works. When I won the Big 12 Championship, it was a great feeling, but it didn't last very long and that showed me that the real joy that I get out of playing football is the day-to-day process with my teammates and the things that we go through in the workouts, the film study and in the practices."
Pitre says he plans to apply those same principles to his NFL career, working to improve daily. Playing in his hometown has its advantages as the rookie gears up for his first Texans Camp.
"I'm going to be working out here at the Texas facility and also in the film room, finding new ways, you know, elevate my game and get better," Pitre said. "I'm always looking to improve and kind of be different in a way."
Pitre and the rookies will report for camp on July 24, veterans on July 26. Texans Training Camp presented by Xfinity begins Friday, July 29 at the Houston Methodist Training Center.
The Houston Texans 2022 Rookie Class visited the Houston Texans YMCA for a fun day full of water fights, snow cones and smiles.