When former Florida running back Dameon Pierce got an invite to the Senior Bowl in 2022, I was completely pumped. Even though he wasn't used the way he should've been, or could've been, in Gainesville, the opportunity to shine in Mobile was one in which he could prove to me, and others, that he was under-utilized and did indeed have an NFL future.
At that event, Pierce was outstanding. It allowed the NFL teams to get a feel for his entire cadre of skills. His pass protection that week put everyone on notice. In fact, the one play that I left Alabama raving about was one of his pass protection attempts. I don't know that I had ever seen a running back rock a linebacker like he did in a one-on-one protection drill at the Senior Bowl. Most times, the running backs are just flailing at the linebackers, just trying to hit and hang on. Not Dameon. He LABELED a linebacker coming through and it drew a ton of ooohs and ahhs.
Fast forward 15 months from that week in Mobile and the Senior Bowl recognized Dameon on Thursday as their Co-Offensive Rookie of the Year. Executive Director Jim Nagy and the Senior Bowl staff elected five former Senior Bowlers to their Senior Bowl Hall of Fame.
Packers OLB Clay Matthews
Eagles RB Brian Westbrook
Eagles OT Lane Johnson
Titans RB Chris Johnson
Ravens OL Marshal Yanda
At the same time, Nagy and company also recognized former UTSA star CB Tariq Woolen as the Defensive Rookie of the Year and WR Christian Watson as Pierce's cohort as the Offensive Rookie of the Year.
But we care about Pierce. After his rookie season, there may be no more exciting Texan for fans than the former Gator, who cut his teeth in the deep south one week in January 2022. He ran for just under 1,000 yards and is the one current player that most people in Houston ask me about when I'm running around Houston.
If Pierce continues to run around…and through…and for Houston, he'll be remembered by many and recognized just as he was by Nagy and the Senior Bowl on Thursday.