And doing it in ways only cousins could -- by talking. A lot.
It started when they were kids growing up around San Antonio, seeing who could jump or throw the farthest, or who had the best hands. It hasn’t stopped to this day, and it didn’t help that they played in one of college football’s fiercest rivalries: Bedlam.
“We just always bickered,” Dimitri said. “There was always a competition between us. It could be the littlest thing but it was always a competition.”
Their ultimate competition, which will lead to the ultimate trash talking, is still two weeks away.
Dimitri, a fullback from Oklahoma, and Tre, a safety from Oklahoma State, are eligible for this year’s NFL draft. The two spent the past few months working out at the Fischer Institute in Phoenix, and although they didn’t live together, they spent about eight hours a day with each other, prepping for the combine, their pro days and the NFL.
The draft, just like everything else in their lives, will be a competition.
“I think I definitely have the leg up,” Dimitri said. “Because I have three [Big 12] rings and he has one.”
And while both cousins don’t mind taking jabs at the other or pushing buttons in ways only they know how, neither one thought he’ll have it in him to say anything right away if he gets picked first.
“Ooh, I don’t think I can do that,” Dimitri said. “See, that’s a little ... I’d have to give it some time, see how it developed. I wouldn’t go in guns firing with that.”
Said Tre: “No, not right away.”
If the two end up watching the draft together, Tre thinks it’ll unfold like this: “I’m going to get drafted. He’s going to give me my hug. He’s going to get drafted. Then I got the upper hand again.”
But will Tre say something if he goes first?
“Definitely,” he said emphatically.
It should be expected.
Together, until they weren't
The two grew up close to each other near Converse, Texas, a suburb about 15 minutes outside San Antonio. Every weekend, Dimitri, Tre and two other cousins stayed at their granny’s house. It was actually their great-grandmother; neither one met their grandparents, so she took on that role in their lives. But whenever they got to her house, it was bedlam before Bedlam.
The quartet got in trouble a lot, Dimitri said.
“Just running around the house and typically being loud and causing a ruckus, and stuff like that,” Dimitri said. “That’s what we usually got in trouble for.”
One thing they learned about each other at a young age was how the other handled defeat. And it couldn't have been more different. Tre cried when he lost. Dimitri got mad and stopped talking.
“Grandma wanted us to just love each other all the time,” Tre said. “We were so competitive growing up it just didn’t work out."
But now? The two are as close as brothers, Tre said. That means they still fight over which team they play with on "Madden." Soon, though, those arguments will end. They’ll be able to play each other as themselves -- unless they get drafted by the same team.
They’ve played together once. Tre was 10 and Dimitri was 9, playing up a level. Tre was the quarterback and Dimitri was his tight end. On Dimitri’s first offensive play, Tre hit him for a touchdown and the two broke out a celebration -- spike included -- that would’ve made anyone think they just won the Super Bowl.
In high school, the two went their separate ways. Tre’s Judson High dominated Dimitri’s Churchill High in all three of their matchups -- two of which knocked Dimitri out of the state playoffs.
Whenever Tre tackled Dimitri in high school, the two would talk so much trash to each other that the officials -- not knowing they were related -- got mad.
They were nearly teammates again at Oklahoma State, where Tre went to be a defensive back. But the Cowboys’ coaching staff wanted to recruit Dimitri as a defender. It was a costly decision.
When Tre heard Oklahoma State’s plan with Dimitri, “I told them they had no chance of trying to get him there. That’s not his thing.”
And once Dimitri heard, “it wasn’t happening.” He wouldn’t even visit Tre at school.
'He didn't juke me'
Instead of joining Tre in Stillwater, Dimitri went to Oklahoma State's biggest rival: Oklahoma.
“Out of every school,” Tre said. “I knew something was going to bring us back together. I didn’t think it was going to be like that. Biggest rivals. Us arguing every time. It’s just the nature of sports. It was fun.”
The two talked every couple of weeks or so while in college. During the season, their conversations were mainly through text messages and were basically updates on each other’s health, a lot of football -- especially as their annual matchup neared -- and support.
Each had his own successful career. Dimitri won three Big 12 championships and went to the College Football Playoff in two of the past three seasons. Tre won three bowl games.
Last year, a GIF made the rounds of a play that saw the two face off one-on-one. But, Tre said, there’s more than meets the eye there.
The play sees Dimitri running toward the end zone with only Tre in between him and the goal line, and it looks like Dimitri jukes Tre en route to the touchdown. Tre ended up on the ground, like a defender who just got his ankles broken by a killer crossover. However, Tre said Dimitri stepped on his foot and tore his shoes, which led to him falling and Dimitri waltzing into the end zone untouched.
“It was bad,” Tre said. “He didn’t juke me. I will say this on the record: My whole cleat tore off. I have the cleats to show everybody. My whole cleat ripped off because he’s fat and he stepped on my foot. It was a good play by him [but] ... he’ll never do it again, though.
“I don’t care what anybody says. I’ve played against elusive dudes, and he did not shake me. Not one second of my life. But I’ll own up to it. He scored. It was a great play by him. It was a momentum thing. I’ll live with it. I’ll get my chance again on a Sunday.”
As if Tre and Dimitri needed more to bicker about, that play was a topic of discussion while they trained in Phoenix.
“He knows if you really want to go out there and do one-on-ones, we can do it. Any time, any place,” Tre said. “But he has the upper hand right now.”