A look at the college connections between Texans and Falcons players.
The Texans travel to Atlanta on Sunday to face off with the undefeated Falcons. Atlanta is in the heart of 'SEC Country', with the Georgia Dome serving as the back drop for the Southeastern Conference's Championship Game. Atlanta and the Dome also host college kickoff and bowl games, so many football fans, both pro and college have made the trek to Georgia's capital city.
The Falcons and Texans share several collegiate connections. The biggest involves Atlanta's top receiver Julio Jones and Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson. Jones and Jackson played at the University of Alabama on the 2008 and 2009 Crimson Tide teams. Those two squads combined to go 26-2, winning the 2009 National Championship.
On Sunday, the two will face off against each other in one of the key matchups of the contest. Jones spoke about his former teammate this week and is expecting a big challenge. ""I know he's going to be competitive," Jones said. "He's going to come play. He's going to play for four quarters, just the way he was taught at Alabama."
For Texans running back Chris Polk, this week's reunion with a former University of Washington Husky is part of a recurring theme. Polk played at Washington with Falcons corner Desmond Trufant from 2009-11. "I'm going to hit him up because I want to trade his jersey. Because every week that we've played we've played against a Husky," Polk mentioned this week.
He also has great respect for Trufant's natural ability and his family's athletic success. "He's a freakish athlete," Polk commented. "I remember when we did our combine test he'd be at the top of everything. The fastest 40, jump the highest, do every drill the fastest. He's a phenomenal hard worker. That's all in his family. He's the third brother out of the Trufants to make it to the NFL as corner. It's in his genes."
The 'oldest' college connection this week dates back to 2003. Texans defensive tackle Vince Wilfork was at 'The U' (University of Miami) at the same time as Falcons kick returner Devin Hester. That Hurricanes squad made it to the Orange Bowl, defeating in-state rival Florida State 16-14 to finish the season at 11-2.
The rest of this week's college connections can be seen below.
-- Texans FB Jay Prosch played at Auburn with Falcons S Robenson Therezie (2012-13)
-- Texans CB A.J. Bouye played at Central Florida with Falcons S Kemal Ishmael (2009-12)
-- Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins played at Clemson with Falcons LB Vic Beasley, DE Malliciah Goodman, and DT Jarrett Grady (2010-12)
-- Texans TE C.J. Fiedorowicz played at Iowa with Falcons DE Adrian Clayborn (2009-10)
-- Texans RB Alfred Blue played at LSU with Falcons S Jalen Collins (2011-13)
-- Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney played at South Carolina with Falcons FB Patrick DiMarco (2010)
-- Texans CB Darryl Morris played at Texas State with Falcons LB Joplo Bartu (2009-12)
-- Texans DE J.J. Watt and TE Garrett Graham played at Wisconsin with Falcons OLB O'Brien Schofield (2008-10)