It’s all about chasing that dream.
For some like Westfield’s Ed Oliver, who will be selected in the first-round of the upcoming NFL Draft, it’s easy.
For others, the path is non-traditional.
Over a dozen former Houston-area high school football legends are playing professional football en route to getting on a NFL 53-man roster.
The Canadian Football League and the Alliance of American Football are giving more opportunities to NFL hopefuls, including former H’Town stars.
“I’ve been out of football for a year since college,” Tyler Batson, formerly of Westfield and UTEP said. “Out of college, I didn’t get an NFL free agent workout or invited to a camp. I just never gave up on the dream.
“I took that year off to get healthy physically and signed with an agent who really worked for me. I got a CFL tryout in Dallas and killed it. I signed with the Edmonton Oilers and will leave for training camp in April.
“Honestly, I didn’t know much about the CFL or the tradition of the Oilers, but I’ve done a ton a research now. I just kept putting in work, knowing that my opportunity would come. I’ve accomplished the goal of becoming a professional football player and now my goal is to play in the NFL.”
Batson will be picking up the new CFL rules and the playbook before moving in April, but he has the intangibles.
“I combine a great football IQ, size, speed and physicality,” he said. “I specialize in explosive plays and I feel like any team can use those capabilities.”
A pair of FCS Walter Payton Offensive Players of the Year from Houston are also on CFL rosters in Bo Levi Mitchell (Katy) and Jeremiah Briscoe (Stratford). One of the city’s all-time leading rushers Trey Williams (Dekaney) has recently been picked up by the Alliance of American Football.
Alliance of American Football
Josh Huff, Nimitz, Oregon, New Orleans Saints, Arizona Hotshots
Cole Hunt, El Campo, TCU, San Antonio Commanders
Jordan Leslie, Tomball, UTEP/BYU, Denver Broncos, Salt Lake
Joey Mbu, Foster, Houston, Green Bay Packers, San Antonio Commanders
Jordan Thomas, Klein Collins, Oklahoma, San Antonio Commanders
Toby Weathersby, Westfield, LSU, San Antonio Commanders
Trey Williams, Dekaney, Texas A&M, Dallas Cowboys, San Antonio Commanders
Canadian Football League
Bralon Addison, Hightower, Oregon, Hamilton
Chance Allen, Elkins, Houston, Hamilton
Tyler Batson, Westfield, UTEP, Edmonton
Donnie Baggs, Clear Springs, Texas A&M, Edmonton
Linnell Bonner III, Dekaney, Houston, Ottawa
Jeremiah Briscoe, Stratford, Sam Houston, Edmonton
Armanti Foreman, Texas City, Texas, Calgary
Bo Levi Mitchell, Katy, Eastern Washington, Calgary