July 22, 2024

How Snoop Dogg helped Texans’ C.J. Stroud grow as a leader

For a piece published Wednesday, DJ Bien-Aime of ESPN detailed how playing in the Snoop Youth Football League founded by entertainment superstar Snoop Dogg helped C.J. Stroud of the Houston Texans develop as a future starting quarterback at the age of 12.

“I was so competitive and wanted to win so I was like, ‘I have to find a way to be a leader and relate to these guys.’ That was my first step,” Stroud told Bien-Aime. “I started hanging out with guys off the field, my mom would have kids come over and spend the night. She would allow me to go over to their houses. It was good for me to learn, this is how you build a brotherhood. I wasn’t even thinking about that back then. But now that I’m older, that’s what that was.”

Even before Stroud was named Houston’s starter and a team captain ahead of the opening game of his rookie season, the second overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft paid for flights and hotel rooms to work out with offensive skill players following springtime practices. Teammates later praised Stroud’s leadership as he guided the Texans to the AFC South division title.

“His ability to connect with many different people from all walks of life definitely helps him to win a locker room,” Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans said. “It just makes it easier for our team to progress and move forward much quicker because of his leadership ability.”

Such traits are important but only mean so much regarding any quarterback. According to Pro Football Reference, Stroud ended his first NFL regular season ranked sixth in the league among qualified players with a 100.8 passer rating and eighth with 4,108 passing yards. Over 15 starts, he tossed 23 touchdown passes with only five interceptions en route to earning Offensive Rookie of the Year Award honors.

Kimberly Stroud, the quarterback’s mother, credited her son’s experiences from roughly a decade ago for helping prepare him to excel at the highest level.

“The Snoop Dogg league was super instrumental in C.J. ‘s journey,” Kimberly Stroud explained. “It was a village that raised C.J. Stroud, and it wasn’t just his mother. It was mainly God, but He put people on our path to help C.J. along his journey. The Snoop Dogg league was one of those.”

As of Wednesday morning, DraftKings Sportsbook listed C.J. Stroud third among the betting favorites at +850 odds to win the Most Valuable Player Award for the upcoming season. 

It seems Snoop Dogg was onto something when he once referred to Stroud as “the underdog that turned into the wonderdog.”