The Houston Cougars will be the first Football Bowl Subdivision team in the state to kickoff the football season and the team looks to recover after struggling in 2019.
Houston went 4-8 in 2019, including a 2-6 mark in American Athletic Conference play.
The Cougars open the season on Thursday, Sept. 3 against crosstown rival Rice. Houston’s two biggest games in conference play come in October when the Cougars host an improved Tulane Green Wave squad on Oct. 8 and visit Navy on Oct. 24.
Houston looks for big seasons from five players that were former Friday Night Lights standouts.
David Anenih, senior defensive lineman, Mansfield Timberview
Anenih looks to build on a breakout junior season where he played in all 12 games and made eight starts while posting 26 tackles, seven tackles for loss, five sacks and deflecting three passes.
He was a Class 5A All-State honorable mention as a senior at Timberview after making 40 tackles as a junior.
Keith Corbin, senior receiver, Beaumont West Brook
Corbin played in only four games in 2019 before redshirting the season and hopes to provide the Cougars another receiving threat to compliment Marquez Stevenson.
Despite playing in only four games, Corbin hauled in 11 catches for 192 yards and two touchdowns. He posted 691 receiving yards and 10 scores in 2018.
Corbin was an all-state honorable mention at West Brook as a junior and had 109 catches for 1,789 and 21 touchdowns during his final two seasons of varsity play.
JoVanni Stewart, senior linebacker, Katy
Stewart will be in a Houston uniform after transferring from West Virginia and sitting out the 2019 season to comply with NCAA transfer rules.
As a Mountaineer, Stewart played in 41 games, made 16 starts and posted 54 tackles, four sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss as a junior in 2018.
Stewart was a part of a suffocating defense that helped Katy win the 2015 Class 6A, Division II state title and held opponents to an average of 3.9 points per game. He finished his senior season with 101 tackles, 10 sacks and eight forced fumbles.
Grant Stuard, senior linebacker, Conroe Oak Ridge
Stuard looks to build off a big year in 2019 where he was named to the All-AAC second team after compiling 97 tackles, including 62 solo stops.
He also had 9.5 tackles for loss, four pass deflections and recorded his first career sack.
Payton Turner, senior defensive lineman, Houston Westside
Turner started all 12 games in 2018 and posted a stat line that included 34 tackles, eight tackles for loss, four sacks and four pass deflections.
Despite missing most of his senior year at Houston Westside with a knee injury, Turner was named to the District 18-6A First team.