Texas A&M offensive lineman Kenyon Green (55) blocks out Kent State defensive lineman CJ West (50) of a plane during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)

Kenyon Green has always stayed close to home after starring for the Atascocita football program.

The five-star offensive lineman recruit didn’t go far when as the state’s top recruit in 2019 he chose the Texas A&M Aggies to continue his education. But last week, huddled at home among family and friends for the first round of the NFL Draft, Green wasn’t sure where his football talents would land him.

With the No. 15 overall pick on the clock, an 832 area code popped up on Green’s cell phone. A thought instantly popped into his head.

“I’m staying home,” he said. “I’m staying home.”

Indeed he is. On the other end of the line was Texans general manager Nick Caserio letting Green know his hometown team was about to select him with the No. 15 pick in the draft. It was a dream come true that Green had never dared to dream.

“I was just shocked,” Green said. “I was just truly just thanking God for this opportunity being here, being able to stay home and play for my city. So, I’m going to give it everything I’ve got. I’m going to be the best player, best person you can ever meet, talk to.”

Everything about Green’s DNA says he should be just that. The 6-foot-4, 324-pound versatile offensive lineman is projected to come in and immediately start for the Texans at offensive guard, helping to improve the interior of the line which has struggled as of late.

A two-time consensus All-American at Texas A&M, he played at four different offensive line positions while starting all 35 games of his career over three years after coming in as a member of one of Jimbo Fisher’s highly ranked classes at A&M. Center was the only position Green didn’t start at while in College Station. He spent much of his time in college starting at either right guard or left guard for the Aggies.

Green now has a chance to live a dream that was once a far-off thought as a kid growing up in the Houston area. The reality of what he could achieve became more real once he started participating in elite camps in high school.

“I would say you have it when you are little,” Green said of his dreams of playing professional football. “But when I realized I can actually play this game and make a living off of it, it was probably my senior year of high school when I went to the opening of an Under Armour account and seeing that road that other players took to get there that played in those type of games. I’m there, so I just have to keep the right mindset, and I’m glad I did. I’m here right now.”

Now he is anxious to be a part of the Texans’ turnaround.

“Going to A&M, a big school how it is now, all we did was…put our heads down and worked,” Green said. “Then right now they’re on the building stages of being a powerhouse in the SEC, so I’m coming with the same mentality. Put my head down and work and then bring people with me.”

Green, who played in playoff games at NRG Stadium when he starred for Atascocita, said it was a surreal feeling when he and fellow first-round pick Derek Stingley walked into the stadium as members of the Texans for the first time last week.

“Derek [and I were] talking about it walking in, saying ‘we’ after they pick you,” Green recalled. “You say whatever team you go to, but we’re saying ‘we.’ What we need, what we need to do for this team to get better, so just changing your mind frame on that. It’s a blessing being able to do this and be a part of this. It’s just the beginning.”

It’s all still a little surreal but Green says it’s about earning the “we.”

“It humbles you too because you still have a lot of work to do,” he said. “This is just the beginning. They gave you the opportunity, so now you got to put your head down and work.”

I've been with The Defender since August 2019. I'm a long-time sportswriter who has covered everything from college sports to the Texans and Rockets during my 16 years of living in the Houston market....