When CeeDee Lamb’s name was called as the Dallas Cowboys first-round pick in the NFL Draft, it was the latest incredible moment in a remarkable journey that did not surprise the people who know him best in a small town outside of Houston.
“To watch him grow as a young man, the culmination of everything he’s worked for, I’m just so proud of him,” said Lamb’s high school football coach Shaun McDowell.
Lamb was born in Opelousas, Louisiana, and lived there until his family was forced to evacuate to Richmond, Texas, because of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
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“At that point, I felt like I took life for granted,” Lamb told NBC Sports. “Even at a young age, I knew I had to enjoy every moment because any day it could be taken away from me.”
The difficulty through the storms motivated Lamb to be great on the football field, and he began to shine, at Foster High School in Richmond, eventually becoming a four-star recruit, picking Oklahoma over Texas and Alabama among others.
“CeeDee was the best player I’ve ever been around,” said McDowell. “The things he could do with his body like contort it. We used to say he plays in the matrix, because he could see things before they happen and do things that contort his body to make the catch. You just had to get the ball in his general direction.”
Dominance at Oklahoma followed, leading him to the NFL draft and the Dallas Cowboys, leaving the coaches who knew him as a hard-working, likable teenager in a small town outside of Houston amazed, but not surprised.
“The first time I saw him in that OU uniform, I teared up pretty good,” said McDowell. “Now that I know he’s going to the Cowboys and he really did achieve his dream, I’m going to cry like a baby and make sure everybody knows it too.”