The Houston Texans Are Banking on the Potential of Kahale Warring

The Houston Texans are banking on taking advantage of Kahale Warring's potential to make a difference on the field.

Kahale Warring is the Houston Texans third-round pick out of San Diego State. Deemed a highly athletic player at 6’5”, 252 lbs. while running a 4.67 40-yard dash and jumping a 36.5-inch vertical at the NFL Combine, Warring enters the NFL as a raw prospect with loads of potential. While not a starter for the Aztecs, Warring managed to impose enough of an impression with his play to be considered by most a second or third round pick by the time draft day came around.

To think that Warring went from barely playing football for the first time a few years ago to now competing for playing time on an NFL roster is a little absurd. Warring never played a down of football in his life until his senior year of high school as a part of his revolving cycle of playing multiple sports. To put it into context, Warring didn’t even know what a tight end was until San Diego State allowed him to play the position rather than his initial position of wide receiver in high school.

“We didn’t have a tight end in our offense in high school, so I played receiver,” explained Warring. “When coaches called me to walk on at San Diego State, they told me they wanted me to play tight end. I just went with it. I had to Google what tight end was right after. That’s a funny story.”

Warring’s lack of familiarity with football stems from the fact that, although an athlete, he was more focused on basketball and water polo throughout his tenure at Sonora High School. With his stepdad being the head coach of the varsity basketball team, Warring’s primary sport was basketball with water polo being a fun sport he played for his first three years of high school. Regardless, during a player’s typical offseason, Warring would continue to put his athleticism on display with his revolving interest in multiple sports.

“Spring was where I tried out the different sports and did something for fun because I like being active…” said Warring. “So I played tennis in the spring for two seasons, I did swim team for one season in the spring… I liked to try to do new things.”

Warring’s knack for trying new things led him to a promising future. Once Warring’s senior year came to a close, he had to choose to play Division II basketball or walking on to a Division I school to play football. According to Warring, the decision wasn’t a difficult one.

“I was talking to a lot of Division II’s, but I wanted to play at the Division I level,” Warring said when talking about receiving offers to play collegiate basketball. Despite basketball being the sport he played longest, football was still on his short list. “I was looking to go to junior college to play basketball and football. Late, I got walk-on offers from Sacramento State and San Diego State [to play football], so that wasn’t a tough decision for me.”

Once at San Diego State, Warring knew how raw he was at the sport both mentally and physically. Outside of having to learn the various nuances of a position he initially didn’t know existed, Warring had to learn to take on an entirely new mentality. Going from sports like tennis and water polo to one of the most physical games in a major collegiate division required a mental adjustment that Warring took on quickly.

“I had to flip the switch real quick,” said Warring. “I had to learn what it takes to stick your hand in the dirt and go down and block someone… I made it happen, and I learned how to do it real quick.”

Labeled as someone who “has the competitiveness to handle run-blocking duties and the talent to line up in the slot” (via Lance Zierlein of NFL.com), Warring did his best to display his talent in limited playing time. Although his stats were relatively low in 2018, with his best season being his final year where he recorded 373 yards and three touchdowns on 31 receptions, Warring was still an honorable mention for the All-Mountain West team.

By the end of his tenure at San Diego State, Warring took pride in his improvement. When considering how late he entered the game, one could argue that Warring shouldn’t be where he is today. Despite the rarity, Warring moves past it and remains confident in what he can eventually bring to the gridiron.

“I feel like I had a pretty successful season this last year,” Warring said. “I really took huge strides every single year I was at San Diego State and learned the game of football. After this season, I really felt confident in my abilities.”

Football is all just fun for Warring. Although he is passionate about the game, he never really dedicated much thought into playing in the NFL until finishing his junior year at San Diego State. Now that he is in the league, Warring has every opportunity to continue to not only perfect his craft and contribute in the best way possible but to keep it fun at the professional level.

“I never thought about the NFL until the end of the season,” Warring said. “I was just playing ball, enjoying it with my teammates, and trying to win games.”

After three seasons of slowly gaining experience at San Diego State and now being an NFL player, Warring knows what he is capable of on the field. With his slight progression throughout his career as an Aztec, Warring is just barely tapping into his potential.

“I feel like I had a pretty successful season this last year,” Warring said. “I really took huge strides every single year I was at San Diego State and learned the game of football. After this season, I really felt confident in my abilities.”

It’s crazy to think of what would have happened if Warring went down a different road. As a newcomer to the sport, Warring could have left for his original passion for basketball. Instead, football stuck to football, and football clung to him.

“I just really started to love the game of football right away,” said Warring. I saw something in it, and I wanted to continue playing.”

Now Warring has the opportunity to continue his want to keep playing football on one of the essential stages possible with a Houston Texans team that looks to take advantage of the untapped potential he holds.

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