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Texans LB Garret Wallow Turning Heads

Second-year linebacker for the Houston Texans Garret Wallow has been turning heads this spring.

The only Houston Texans rookie to play in all 17 games last season, linebacker Garret Wallow has become a fixture of Frank Ross' special teams unit.

A fifth-round pick out of TCU, the 23-year-old played 63% of Houston's special teams snaps in 2021, and 16% of their defensive snaps - with his role as a backup growing as the year wore on, even going so far as to start two games.

A consistent presence who only missed two tackles all year, Ross is using Wallow as an example for the new batch of rookies.

"I tell the rookies that just finished their first spring, ‘That was Garret a year ago,’" Frank said. "I tell those guys, ‘We’re trying to get you to be a year three player in less than six months.’"

And his use of Wallow as an example isn't surprising when taking veteran linebacker Christian Kirksey's recent comments on the sophomore.

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"He's only in year two but he seems like he's been in the league for five/six years," Kirksey said. "He's very smart, he picks up the game fast, he plays fast, he can play any linebacker position on the field whether it's mike, will, or sam he can plug himself in and be of an impact on this defense." ... "He showed me some of his offseason routines and workouts that he was doing and [let's] just say he was working his butt off."

General manager Nick Caserio has also recently spoken highly of Wallow's improvement and work ethic.

"Garret Wallow's probably done as well as any player on the team from the time that he walked into the building to where he is in the Spring," Caserio said. "I mean, he's learned all three linebacker positions, he has a role in the kicking game, he's made strides in the weight room, he just looks like a different player."

Now with a year under his belt and entering a linebacker room consisting primarily of short-term contracts, Wallow has an opportunity to stake his claim to become a permanent feature not just on special teams, but on Lovie Smith's defense. But, he'll need to make that mythical second-year leap.

"Garret is going into his second year and he’s trying to make that quote-on-quote, metaphoric jump as much as possible," Ross said. "He’s done a great job. Guys like him have taken the reigns as far as special teams, heavy core-four roles. He’s done a great job with that and excited to see where he comes into camp in shape, and gets ready to roll for his second full year."