Peter Kalambayi grew up about 35 miles from Jadeveon Clowney's hometown of Rock Hill, South Carolina.
The Texans rookie outside linebacker was just a high school football player at Butler High School in North Carolina, while Clowney was dominating at the University of South Carolina. After the Texans drafted him in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Kalambayi realized he would be part of a defense with elite pass rushers that he grew up watching.
"Jadeveon Clowney is actually from my area," Kalambayi said. "He's from Rock Hill and I'm from Charlotte, North Carolina, so I used to look at his tape all the time in high school and now I actually get to be teammates with him, so that's going to be crazy. And obviously you have J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, those guys, guys that you watched on TV but now you get to work with them. I'm just excited to work with them. I hope they take me under their wing and show me some stuff."
Despite moving across the country to attend Stanford, Kalambayi still kept up with Clowney's NFL career. The former No. 1 overall draft pick is coming off his best performance in 2017, and after setting single-season career highs in sacks (9.5), quarterback hits (21), forced fumbles (2), fumble recoveries (2) and total tackles (59) and tackles for loss (21).
Kalambayi isn't surprised.
"Jadeveon Clowney had the best high school highlight tape ever," he said. "I stand by that to this day. He scored like a million touchdowns on defense and then I was so happy to see how he did last season, too. I remember he was coming off that injury. I'm just ready to kind of ball with him."
Kalambayi, selected with the 40th pick in the sixth round (214th overall) of the NFL Draft, will begin a three-day minicamp with rookies on Friday at the Houston Methodist Training Center.
The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 3/2/2021)