Buford High School lineman Kolton Houston made a last minute decision that he's glad he made. A…
Georgia Junior Interested in USC
The programs showing interest include Clemson, Florida, Duke, South Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, UAB, Auburn, Tennessee and Arkansas. Houston already has offers from South Carolina, Maryland, Vanderbilt and Stanford. Most of the programs showing interest are recruiting him as an offensive lineman, though some are recruiting him to play on the defensive line.
Houston says of the schools that have offered that South Carolina and Vandy are recruiting him the hardest, while Michigan State, Georgia and Clemson are recruiting him the hardest of those who haven't.
Houston grew up a Georgia fan, and his father actually played at the school for two years. But he insists that doesn't mean he will automatically go to Georgia if they do offer.
"I went to the Georgia Tech game out there this year. I think it's a wonderful campus atmosphere," Houston said. "It's real close to home, but I mean I don't have to follow the same road as my dad followed. I'm not going to have to be that same kid that just because my dad went there I have to go there."
Houston's first offer came from South Carolina recruiting coordinator Shane Beamer back in late September or early October he recalled.
"It definitely caught me as a surprised," Houston said of the offer. "I never thought I would be able to get a scholarship especially that early my junior year. And I was just glad that it happened, and I was just thankful for my coaches here at Buford. They have done a wonderful job for me. They have helped me along the way. They are wonderful coaches."
Houston says South Carolina offered him as a defensive lineman, but said there was the possibility he could move to the offensive line later. With most other schools recruiting Houston to play offense, new offensive line coach Eric Wolford could decide he wants Houston on his offensive line.
Houston had the highest of praise for his recruiter of record, Beamer.
"I have a lot of respect for Coach Beamer," he said. "I think he's a very good family man. And that's one of the most respected coaches that I have (met)."
Houston shared his initial thoughts on the South Carolina program.
"I definitely like the atmosphere. The school, the new facility they are adding on is definitely piquing my interest. I want to go look at their new building. And the fan base is good up there. I like the college atmosphere overall I guess is the best way to say it."
Houston has been to South Carolina for games three times already, and hopes to be at USC's junior day in February. While his father attended UGA, Houston also has a prior connection to USC in former Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers.
"He went to the same high school as my dad, and he and my dad were friends in high school. They played high school football together," he said. "They keep in touch with each other and go play in golf tournaments together."
"I haven't actually talked to him in about a year and a half," Houston continued. "Growing up he always told me to come up there and be a Gamecock one day."
The versatile lineman offered his thoughts on two of the other programs that are recruiting him.
Vanderbilt: "I haven't actually been able to go to Vanderbilt yet. I was supposed to go to the Florida game, but I had family complications here so I couldn't go up there. I've heard that it's a great city, Nashville, that it's a wonderful place to go. Now the stadium is not as big as all the other stadiums, but I would definitely like to go up there and see it, because I've heard it's a wonderful school."
Maryland: "I definitely want to go see Maryland. I always grew up watching them, and think that would be a cool place to visit."
Houston says he hasn't decided on all of the junior days he will attend, but does know he would like to go to South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Georgia's. He has visited Georgia, Georgia Tech, South Carolina and Clemson in the past.
With four offers and many more likely to come, Houston says he is not ready to begin narrowing his list down.
"No, not really," Houston replied when asked if he had a group of favorites. "Because I want to keep my board as completely open as possible. I don't want to single anybody out. I really have no top groups right now. I'll put out my top groups here in about a month, after signing day (2009), and when more (offers) start rolling in."
While he doesn't have a favorite, or even a group of favorites, he does have a plan and a potential timetable for when he would like to end the recruiting process.
"If a bunch more offers come in here after signing day (2009) and I have a bunch of offers laid out on the table, I would like to do it like late May right before the summer starts. But if I don't have a lot more offers like I just have two more offers by then, then I'll wait. It's not going to bother me to wait."
Houston also knows exactly what he is looking for in the program he will eventually choose.
"I want the school to have a good education. Because I can't bank on going to the NFL; I need to bank on getting a good education for the rest of the life, for my family later on down the road. Football is not going to last forever. I want to go to a place where I have respect for my coaches and I can believe in my coaches that they're going to take care and do what's best for me."
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