UTC's Tiano joins a Houston Texans roster with Deshaun Watson, AJ McCarron

Staff photo by Robin Rudd / UTC quarterback Nick Tiano celebrates at the end of UTC's 34-33 comeback win against the Citadel on Nov. 16, 2019.

Nick Tiano has only been in the NFL for a few hours, but he already has a story to share someday with the grandchildren.

The former Baylor School and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga quarterback was not among the 10 quarterbacks drafted Thursday night through Saturday afternoon, nor was he among the 10 quarterbacks announced Saturday night as free-agent signees.

In fact, this past weekend was anything but the dream of a lifetime he was expecting.

"It's been a long 48 hours," Tiano said Monday afternoon before recalling the chaos. "Right at the start of the sixth round, about five or six teams started calling, and we were thinking we were going to get picked. Everything was looking really good. My agent and I had decided that if we had not been picked by pick 240 (out of 255), then we would agree to terms with one of these teams as a free agent. We agreed with a team as the draft ended, and we were good, but then about 10 minutes later, we got a call from that team telling us they had done their numbers wrong and that they weren't going to have room.

"I was crushed. We called back to the other teams that had offered us deals, and they had already agreed to terms with the next quarterback on their list."

The Houston Texans were the team that miscalculated, but they figured things out and ultimately signed the 6-foot-5, 240-pounder Monday morning.

Tiano finished his career with the Mocs as the Southern Conference's player of the month last November, and he was invited to January's NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in Pasadena, California, where he earned MVP honors. His pro day at UTC was scratched due to the coronavirus outbreak, but Tiano was ranked as the 10th-best quarterback prospect by WalterFootball.com.

There were four quarterbacks selected within the first 26 picks during Thursday's opening round, but then former Alabama and Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts was the only quarterback chosen from picks 27 to 121. Tiano was keeping tabs on who was going where but had no idea the crazy part was yet to occur.

"It was tough, because I didn't expect to go to sleep Saturday night not on a team," he said, "but I'm very thankful that everything has worked out. It will be a great opportunity for me."

Houston is 21-11 the past two seasons and has reached the playoffs in four of the past five years. The Texans have an entrenched starting quarterback with Deshaun Watson, who led Clemson to the 2016 national championship, and also have AJ McCarron, who guided Alabama to national titles during the 2011 and '12 seasons.

"It's a great opportunity to learn from those guys," Tiano said. "They say they plan to keep three quarterbacks on their roster, so it would be awesome to have the opportunity to dress and be with them on game days. I've got to be ready to go when that time comes."

The Texans also have Alex McGough, who played at Florida International, at quarterback.

Tiano said Houston veterans started meetings Monday and that the rookies will get going in a couple of weeks. He plans to remain in Chattanooga and keep working until the COVID-19 pandemic eases.

"It's going to be a lot different," Tiano said. "I think teams will have a lot of Zoom position meetings, so I will meet with my position coach and the other guys in the room to go through the installs and plays and all those kinds of things. They are going to try and get as much done as they can.

"My first experiences in the NFL will be looking at a screen, so it will be pretty interesting."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.