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The Houston Texans made cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. the No. 3 overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft on Thursday night to bolster their secondary that ranked 27th in points allowed and 31st in yards allowed.
Stingley was a standout cornerback for LSU. He was a consensus All-American his freshman year when he had six interceptions and 39 tackles. He then would only played in 10 games between 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic and a lis franc injury. But when he was on the field, quarterbacks would avoid him.
Derek Stingley Jr. #24 of the LSU Tigers reacts against the South Carolina Gamecocks during a game at Tiger Stadium on October 24, 2020 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
The new rookie defender told Fox News Digital in an interview after the Texans picked him he was ready to start work. He added he wanted to let Texans fans know he was going to give it his all.
“I want them to know I’m dedicated. I will always give as much effort as I can, honestly,” he said.
Stingley said he knows he is going to have to up his game to the next level but there wasn’t one player he said he was looking forward going 1-on-1 with.
“Everybody’s good so I got to bring my A game every single time I go against somebody at the next level. I’m really looking forward to going against everybody,” he said.
Weeks before the draft, Stingley said he modeled his game after former Washington and Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey. He told Fox News Digital he sees a bit of himself in the Pro Football Hall of Famer.
Champ Bailey #24 of the Denver Broncos waits on the field before the game against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
“I really think we have a similar body physique. He was also fast enough to run with the fastest and also strong enough to deal with the bigger guys. He was able to matchup too and he also played both ways at a point in his career and I did the game thing,” he said. “That translates to ball skills. Whenever he had a chance to get his hands on the ball, most of the times he was picking it off. He knew how to bring it back to the end zone. That’s some of the similarities I see between.”
Stingley comes from a football-playing family.
His grandfather Darryl Stingley suffered a devastating injury while he was a member of the New England Patriots. He broke his fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae when he was hit by Oakland Raiders defensive back Jack Tatum during a preseason game in 1978. He spent the rest of his life as a quadriplegic.
His father Derek Stingley was an Arena Football League player for most of his career. He had a cup of coffee with the New York Jets in 1999.
Stingley Jr. told reporters after he was drafted he doesn’t think about injuries while playing.
“Whenever I’m out there playing, you don’t want to play thinking about injuries or playing scared, because then something might happen if are you out there like that,” he said. “Really, I just go out there and just play, have fun, and just do what I do.”
Stingley Jr. was a part of a Mad Rabbit documentary chronicling his journey from playing high school football through college and onto the pros. His family and former coaches talked about Stingley growing up and becoming a sensation at such a young age.
Derek Stingley Jr. #7 of the LSU Tigers warms up prior to a game against the Central Michigan Chippewas at Tiger Stadium on September 18, 2021 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
“My son wanted to be an NFL player and the stars got aligned to the point where now he’s gonna have the opportunity,” Stingley Sr. said in the Mad Rabbit documentary. “It’s a parent’s dream to see their child live out your childhood dream and that’s what he’s doing to be doing. First, second, third, fourth, whatever. … He’s playing in the NFL. That’s all that we want and hoped for and it’s coming to be.”
Mad Rabbit creates tattoo balm to help preserve the tattoo and Stingley has plenty he needs to take care of.
He told Fox News Digital he is “absolutely” getting the Texans tattoo next.