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Sunday, November 28, 2021

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Joseph finds family in the Houston football team


Sophomore quarterback Blake Joseph traded in his graduation cap for a football helmet three years ago when he left everything he knew and came to UH on a football scholarship.

"I came down here in the spring of ’05. I graduated high school early, so it was different," he said. "I was 18; I was a young’un. I was supposed to be in high school."

Adjusting to living in a big city without his family wasn’t easy, but Joseph’s older teammates helped him along the way.

"My roommates, (junior tight end) Mark Hafner and (junior offensive lineman) Mike Bloesch, (are) a year older than me, but they took me under their wing," he said. "It was nice having them step up and take care of the baby."

Joseph tries to do the same for younger players now that he is in his third year at Houston.

"I hang out with some of the younger kids sometimes. You just always look out for your family. The whole team’s a family, so everybody on my team is family. I’d do anything for my teammates."

Joseph grew up in Bryan, Texas and spent a lot of time with his father playing sports while he was growing up.

"I threw with my dad all the time. That’s what my dad and me did, we just did drills. Growing up, he always made me throw long passes. He was my teacher," he said.

Joseph has always been able to throw a ball, but didn’t limit himself to throwing footballs as he also pitched for his high school baseball team.

"I played a lot of baseball when I was younger, more baseball than football, but then, as I started getting older, I just started concentrating on football," Joseph said.

His efforts paid off during his sophomore year of high school when he became the starting quarterback. Then came his recruitment by Houston head coach Art Briles.

His first two years in Houston were an immense change. For the first time in his life Joseph wouldn’t have his family close by.

"I moved down here without my folks for the first time. It’s a different area, you know?" Joseph said. "All the freeways, I got lost all the time. It’s just different."

However, he did have something familiar to fall back on – football.

Although Joseph did not play for his first two years in Houston, he used the opportunity to learn from Kevin Kolb, who was the starting quarterback for the Cougars from 2003 to 2006 and led Houston to a Conference USA Championship last year.

"I learned a great deal from (Kolb). He taught me how to lead the team and be focused. He helped me learn the offense too, so the first two years really helped me out a lot," Joseph said.

Now that his brother Clay Joseph is a redshirt quarterback at Rice University this year, Joseph finally has some family to lean on.

Like most siblings, the Joseph brothers experienced times when they couldn’t stand each other, but as they grew older they got closer.

"What I really missed my first two years here, (were) his junior and senior years of high school. I didn’t get to see him play football. I didn’t go to any of his games, and it made me sad a little (because) he played quarterback, so I missed out. I’m glad he’s here now," he said.

Nowadays when Joseph goes back home to Bryan, he makes it a priority to spend time with his parents and his friends from high school.

"I like to see my friends from back home. I don’t really get to see them that much. Especially during Christmas break after the bowl game, I get to see my family, and I really enjoy that," he said.

But even though he enjoys catching up with his friends and family, Joseph now considers Houston a second home and can’t be away for too long.

"This is home now. Even when I go home for Christmas now, I go home for like a week or two, but after a week – or even three or four days – I’m like, ‘I want go back.’"

Joseph has seen the UH campus grow in the years since he was a greenhorn freshman. He’s also seen football program come into its own at the helm of coach Briles.

"(Becoming C-USA champions) was awesome. You can’t explain that type of feeling. … Hopefully we can get it this year and then we can go for three," Joseph said


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