Georgia and Alabama will take the field at Mercedes Benz Stadium on Monday night to determine college football’s national champion for 2017. The opportunity to play in a national championship game was something a handful of 2017 Texans had in their college careers as well.
We all know that Deshaun Watson led Clemson to last year’s national championship, but he got plenty of help from defensive lineman Carlos Watkins. The year prior, Watson and Watkins were also in the national championship game against Alabama with second year defensive lineman D.J. Reader alongside.
No other Texans played in the College Football Playoff championship game (only started in 2014 - Braxton Miller was injured and missed the 2014 season) but plenty played in its predecessor - the BCS National Championship game.
In 2013, three former Auburn Tigers played in the last BCS National Championship game against Florida State - Jay Prosch, Chad Slade and Angelo Blackson. The Tigers came up short in a scintillating matchup with the Seminoles.
Former Notre Dame All-American Nick Martin was a youngster on the Notre Dame team that lost to Alabama in the 2012 BCS National Championship game.
In 2011, the last time two SEC teams met for the title, receiver DeAndrew White was a true freshman for the Alabama Crimson Tide while running back Alfred Blue was a member of the LSU backfield. White’s Crimson Tide took the championship home that night down in New Orleans.
Kareem Jackson was a three-year starter for the Crimson Tide, and in his final season at Alabama (2009), he was a key member of the defensive unit that took down the Texas Longhorns. The following season, Eddie Pleasant and his Oregon Ducks battled Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers in Glendale, AZ for the 2010 title Unlike Jackson’s Tide, though, Pleasant’s Ducks would come up three points short of Oregon’s first championship.
As a true freshman, Brian Cushing played linebacker in what’s thought to be, arguably, the greatest college football game ever. His USC Trojans hadn’t lost in 34 straight games and were looking to put another national championship feather in the cap of the Trojans’ mid-2000s dynasty. But, BUT, Longhorn hero Vince Young put on a performance for the ages in the 2006 Rose Bowl and his Texas squad left Pasadena with the title.
One other player played for a college national championship and that would be Marcus Williams. The former North Dakota State Bison star did it three times and left with three championship rings in the Football Championship Subdivision. In fact, the Bison made it six national championships in seven years last Saturday as they knocked off defending champs James Madison.
So, will there be a future Houston Texan on the field in tonight’s matchup? Most assuredly, if history is our guide.