Texans like Henry To'oTo'o's consistency, communication

When the Texans drafted linebacker Henry To’oTo’o in the fifth round, there were a few parallels with his new head coach.

Like To’oTo’o, Texans coach DeMeco Ryans is a former Alabama standout linebacker.

And, like To’oTo’o, Ryans was an All-Southeastern Conference linebacker known for his aggressiveness, instincts and cerebral nature.

Now, To’oTo’o is making his initial impressions on the Texans during a rookie minicamp that started Friday. A fifth-round draft pick, he signed a four-year, $4.08 million contract that includes a $244,977 signing bonus Friday.

“Henry has been a very consistent player,” Ryans said. “Watching him in Alabama over the years, he’s been very consistent and a part of a really good defense there. He’s a very good communicator, running the show there.

“They have a lot of calls, checks with that defense. So just being familiar with it, I have high respect for guys who have to communicate in college because it’s an easier transition when they come to our level.”

To’oTo’o (6-foot-2, 228 pounds) is competing with Christian Kirksey, Denzel Perryman, Cory Littleton, Jermaine Carter, Garret Wallow, Blake Cashman and Neville Hewitt.

To’o’To’o’s best friend at Alabama, Texans linebacker Christian Harris, was drafted in the third round last season and emerged as an impact player toward the end of his rookie year. He was teammates with Texans first-round draft pick Will Anderson Jr. and wide receiver John Metchie III.

“Everywhere Christian went, I went, everywhere I went, Christian went,” To’o’To’o said. “Being able to reunite with him and Will and Metchie is a blessing.”

A Tennessee transfer, he has run the 40-yard dash in 4.62 seconds.

“I mean, wherever he’s played, he’s been productive,” general manager Nick Caserio said. “Whether it was at Tennessee, whether it was at Alabama, captain, leader, ran a defense, signal caller, highly productive, instinctive. So there’s a lot of good qualities, should have a role in the kicking game.”

He had 94 tackles and 2 1/2 sacks last season. He had 111 tackles in 2021 with four sacks and one forced fumble.

“I’m a smart, instinctive guy who loves football,” he said. “Smart, instinctive, fast.”

Aaron Wilson is a contributor to Sports Talk 790.

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