It is not often you get former collegiate teammates on the same team competing in the same position group during an NFL training camp. That is what former Texas A&M players in second year wide receiver Uzoma Nwachukwu and rookie Travis Labhart are pushing for with the Houston Texans.
Two different skill sets with Nwachukwu getting the bulk of his work as an outside wide receiver, while Labhart has turned heads with his impressive camp
as a slot wide receiver. The College Station products have stood out among the wide receiver group and have put a positive impression on the coaching
Nwachukwu has taken a huge step from year one to year two in Houston and he is looking to make an even bigger impression on the coaching staff in the
preseason opener. “I want to show my route-running ability, my speed, my playmaking ability,” Nwachukwu continued, “I think that’s what all of us are
trying to show and all of us are trying to put out a good product of.”
His speed and route-running and sure hands during training camp have made some waves during practice. His solid work habits have inched him up the depth
chart and now it is time for him to put those good vibes into a game. Nwachukwu's attention to detail seems to help him understand and slow down the game.
"I would tell you I’m just more focused on the details, trying to focus more on the little things and trying to make sure I’m getting better day-in and
day-out.” explained Nwachukwu.
As for the rookie Labhart, his rise through the wide receiver numbers at training camp has been a hot topic. The thought of being in Houston still has not
sunk into the rookie, “I have had many people ask me if it has set in on where you're at, and really I don't think it has. I am out here with some really
amazing players each and every day.”
With so much focus on his job on the practice field and learning the nuances of the NFL game, Labhart hasn't taken much time to think about his first
preseason game on Saturday. “It just hasn't donned on me yet and that could be the moment to where I am. I might go, wow this is my first opportunity in an
Labhart understands what is ahead and with Arizona and the first preseason game within days, the reality of where he is at is starting to set in.
“I think I am starting to settle in.” Labhart continued, “Obviously, there is a game looming, but you go into it with an attitude knowing that you're
Both Nwachukwu and Labhart have learned plenty that has helped them adjust to the NFL and given them a chance for success.
Nwachukwu points to his experience as the key factor for his growth, “I think it helped a lot because now I know what to expect, now I know how the season
goes, how to prepare your body, how to get in the film room." He continued, “You can’t take anything for granted, so just having a year under my belt, just
being able to look back on it and see how I can improve my game.”
Since arriving during rookie mini-camp, Labhart has used the veterans on the team as examples on how to make it in the NFL, “I have learned a lot from the
older guys and I have plenty of time to learn more things.” Labhart continued, “As of right now, the biggest things are to learn from the veteran guys.
Each and every day see how they practice, see how they study and take notes.
The reality is that Nwachukwu and Labhart have legitimate opportunities to make their impressions on the coaching staff to make decisions tough down the
line. Nwachukwu has a preseason under his belt in 2013 where he had 2 receptions for 18 yards which led to him spending time on the practice squad for the
As for Labhart, this is all new and his NFL journey goes to the next level in Arizona. When he steps onto the University of Phoenix Stadium, the
butterflies should start and when asked if it might happen to him, Labhart explained with a smile,
“I wouldn’t be human if there were not pre game jitters.”