*Courtesy Auburn Media Relations*
AUBURN, Ala. — Jay Prosch figures he'll have the same role with his new team as he had with his old one.
Call him what you wish — fullback, H-back or tight end — the now-former Auburn blocking back figures he'll be asked to clear the way for others, but now it will be in the NFL.
He did the dirty work at Auburn, by blocking all the way, and says he'll continue to do that for the Houston Texans, who drafted him in the sixth round Saturday. Prosch said he plans to follow the advice of Houston coach Bill O'Brien and remain "hard-nose, tough guy" who is "basically crushing people. Also, I think I can execute extremely well and move as well and that’s something I’m looking forward to expanding on in my career as an NFL football player."
Prosch was the only Auburn player selected on the final day of the NFL Draft as he joined three early Auburn draftees: offensive lineman Greg Robinson, who was the No. 2 overall pick, by St. Louis Rams; defensive end Dee Ford, who was a first-rounder to Kansas City Chiefs; and running back Tre Mason, who was a third-round pick by the Rams.
Minutes after the draft, other Auburn players were agreeing to free agent deals. Some of the early ones included defensive back and kick returner Chris Davis to San Diego, defensive back Ryan White to Green Bay, defensive back Ryan Smith to Dallas; defensive lineman Nosa Eguae to Atlanta, kicker Cody Parkey to Indianapolis and punter Steven Clark to Denver.
Prosch transferred from Illinois to Auburn to be closer to his mother who had been diagnosed with cancer. He became a crowd-favorite for his blue-collar style. He won more hearts when his mother died during the 2013 season, and he played on.
He said he thought of her on draft day Saturday, as always.
"I definitely think about her all the time, no matter if it’s today, but she was definitely on my mind today," he told the Houston media in a teleconference.
"She would be extremely proud. She was already proud of me, just for playing at Illinois when I first got there. She’s always been proud of me and she would be ecstatic and just happy for me I think."
Houston knows what it is getting in Prosch, who didn't have a single carry last season as a fullback/H-back, but helped Mason lead the SEC in rushing by clearing out would-be tacklers. He talked to the Texans before the draft about playing tight end as well.
Prosch said he visited the Texans and said he was "really hoping" they'd draft him.
"I see myself fitting in great," he said. "During my visit, I met with the running backs coach, tight ends coach and we sat down and talked about what type of things I’d be doing in their offense. Everything that I saw were things that I felt extremely comfortable doing and really got me excited about it."
Prosch started 11 games at H-back last season and didn't grade lower than 92 percent as a blocker. He had three catches for 31 yards. And he played on three special teams.
No carries though.
He played two seasons at Auburn after transferring from Illinois. In all, he started 49 games in his career, rushing 14 times for 47 yards and two touchdowns. He had 11 catches for 115 yards in his career.
The rest of the time? Blocking. That's why he was drafted.
"I definitely think it’s my blocking, obviously, and that’s kind of what got me here," Prosch said.
Prosch played on three special teams at Auburn. He could do it in Houston.
"That's definitely something that I enjoy doing because it’s kind of getting out of that structure of playing offense and getting a little freedom to make different kinds of plays."
He said he and O'Brien thought along the same lines during an earlier visit.
"I sat in his office for a little while and we talked about what kind of football player I am and what he would want from me and what he thinks I should be able to provide. I told him what I think I can do and we went back and forth. It was a good conversation and I really enjoyed it," Prosch said.
Now, it may be a blocker for prolific tailback Arian Foster.
"It sounds amazing. I think that’s awesome. I look forward to something like that," Prosch said.