Rookie wide receiver Travis Labhart looks to follow in those steps and prove that he can defy the odds.
At Texas A&M, Labhart spent three seasons with the Aggies and appeared in only six games prior to his senior year with no production offensively. Fast forward to his senior season at College Station, Labahrt became a viable option for the offense by positing 51 receptions for 626 yards and 8 touchdowns. One of his best games of his career came against Duke in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl when he scored three touchdowns to cap a 52-48 win.
Labhart talked about his time at Texas A&M and his big senior season,
“It was a really neat experience. Obviously, I was fortunate to have that even happen. I’m thankful for my coaches (at TAMU) but now I am here and looking forward to making progress and establishing myself here. I want to work hard for the Texans organization and my home state.”
Despite little playing time prior to his Senior season, Labhart kept plugging away to make his mark. His aspirations of playing in the NFL were not even in the picture heading into his final season, and with one productive season Labhart put himself on NFL radars.
The Texans took a closer look of Labhart at the Texas A&M Pro Day after seeing him catch passes from a particular quarterback the Texaans were doing film work on. They liked his work out of the slot, his quick movement in space and ability to to catch the ball away from his body. At 5-9 and 182 lbs. he fits the perfect mold of what a slot wide receiver should be in the Bill O’Brien run offense.
Labhart talked about this once in a lifetime opportunity,
“You chase dreams since you were a little kid and for me is was something for me I wanted to continue to play football. I was fortunate to land here and one of those blessings from the Lord to keep me playing. “
With eleven wide receivers under contract for the Texans, Labhart has an upward climb to work into a roster or practice squad spot for the team. O’Brien has made it clear he wants the rookies to work hard, keep quiet and follow the veterans lead. Labhart and the other rookies know this and coming in during rookie mini-camp was the first step.
“Coming in was just obviously a good opportunity. I’m really looking forward to continue to learn more. We are behind as rookies and we have a lot to go out and show and perform. We have been given an opportunity so we just have to get in that playbook and continue to work hard. “
The Whitesboro (Texas) native gets to stay in his home state and continue his football career and there is no hiding his excitement staying in Texas.
“It’s great. My family is close and we are close to (Texas) A&M. It is an exciting to be close to home. It is a comfort zone. I am not from here, but I know Houston. It is pretty neat.”
Labhart had a productive rookie mini-camp and looked like he understood what the coaches were asking from him. His big test is coming in August when training camp arrives, but the Texans will have OTAs in less than a week when all of the rookies will join the veterans.
Opportunities during NFL practices do not come often for rookie free agents. Taking advantage of passes thrown to him and reps during team sessions is at the utmost importance. Just like his college days he took his one opportunity and ran with it and now he is getting his one shot the Texans.
Labhart will be a storyline to pay attention to this summer and he has the chance to make a childhood dream come true in his home state.