HOUSTON (AP) - When Tom Savage was looking for another school after leaving Arizona in 2011, his father put him to work in construction. It was an experience that taught Houston s new quarterback to value the chance to play football.
It was tough, Savage said. I know what I don t want to do after football and that s work construction. It was brutal on me. I grew up a lot as a man and I m excited to get this opportunity.
After selecting defensive end Jadeveon Clowney with the first overall pick and adding an offensive lineman, a tight end and a nose tackle, Houston finally filled the need at quarterback when they took Pittsburgh s Savage with the 135th pick.
The Texans were looking for a quarterback after Matt Schaub had a terrible season in 2013 and was benched before being traded to Oakland in the offseason. New coach Bill O Brien said on ESPN that Savage would compete with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum and T.J. Yates for Houston s starting job.
Savage threw for 2,958 yards with 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions in one season at Pittsburgh. The 6-4, 228-pound player started all 13 games for the Panthers last season. He became the highest drafted quarterback by the Texans since they selected Dave Ragone with the 88th pick in 2003.
Savage played his first two seasons at Rutgers, where he had 2,211 yards and 14 touchdowns as a freshman in 2009. He then transferred to Arizona, but didn t play there after a coaching change and eventually transferred to Pittsburgh, where he sat out another year before becoming the starter there in 2013.
I just think, from a football standpoint, hitting rock bottom I think it was the best thing for me, Savage said. It s great to go to a school and play for three years and be the man for three years, but I think you develop as a man doing the scout team as a redshirt junior and humbling yourself. I went there and was humbled and I fell in love with the game again because I ve had it taken away and I know what the outside world is with working construction and all that stuff.