Deion Sands, Hall of Famer and College Head Coach, will begin his NFL career in Detroit as the first draft pick.
Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmesdrafted James Houston IV of Jackson State as a HBCU linebacker in the sixth round, 217th overall. Holmes, an HBCU graduate of North Carolina A&T, spoke throughout the year about giving those players a chance.
Houston is grateful for Houston's trust in him.
Houston stated, “I'm so happy they picked me for the pick.” Houston said, “All of the events from last year and all that happened in college are gone.” I'm here to work hard and make this organization better.
Houston, nicknamed “Da Problem”, won the season with 16.5 sacks. Houston spent three seasons as an interior linebacker for the Florida GatorsHe had 100 tackles, four sacks, and three forced fumbles before being transferred to the University of Texas.
Houston stated that he never had contact with the Lions prior to being drafted. He was the Jackson State's first player to be selected in 2008 and the third HBCU member taken in this draft. Fayetteville StateJoshua Williams (Kansas City Chiefs) and South Carolina StateDecobie Durant (Los Angeles Rams).
Since 2013, Detroit hasn’t chosen an HBCU graduate. Houston joins Lem Barney, a Hall of Fame defensive back, as the second highest Jackson State player chosen by the Lions.
“Obviously Deion's presence was a big factor in my decision to go there. Houston stated that it was an HBCU which attracted me to the university. Houston also mentioned that my entire family is HBCU-educated and Houston shared his experience. It was something I had always wanted to do and it felt right at the right time.
“I know Coach Prime and me, and we had the same dreams and motivations to kick this thing off. I couldn't be happier that I'm his first NFL prospect.”