Houston Not Big On Texas

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas cornerback Chris Houston doesn't like Texas.

He never did as a child, even though he grew up close to the campus in Austin. He didn't like the Longhorns during the recruiting process, when Texas showed interest but didn't have faith while he waited for test scores.

And, of course, Houston doesn't like them now that he's a Razorback.

The redshirt freshman, who was a running back and cornerback at Lyndon B. Johnson High in Austin, is looking forward to Arkansas' game against No. 7 Texas in Reynolds Razorback Stadium on Saturday night. He traveled with the team last season and watched the 38-28 upset win, but said it'll be more memorable stepping on the field against his hometown team this weekend.

"I never grew up a Texas fan at all," Houston said. "I liked players off their team like (former Longhorns running back) Ricky Williams and (defensive back) Quentin Jammer, but that's it. I didn't like orange and white. I was always a Florida State fan and stuff. I went with the outsiders.

"My dad was (a Texas fan), but my momma really wasn't. My dad has changed his whole point of view about Texas now."

The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder played cornerback exclusively during his senior season of high school and was rated among the top 100 players in Texas after the 2002 season. Houston, who also was recruited by programs like LSU and Oklahoma, would've considered signing a letter-of-intent with Texas to stay close to his family.

But the Longhorns backed off and never offered a scholarship.

"They didn't have any faith in me," Houston said. "When I got my SAT score late, they just stopped talking to me or whatever. (Arkansas coach) Houston Nutt, he was still up for me so I came here.

"This is where God wanted me to be."

And Houston had a memorable debut during Arkansas' 63-13 win against New Mexico State, scooping up a punt blocked by teammate Kevin Woods and walking into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown. His first career score helped the Hogs open a 28-0 lead in the second quarter and seal any chance for a dramatic opener.

Houston didn't start at cornerback -- giving way to junior college transfer Darius Vinnett -- but played in a backup role and made one tackle and broke up a pass in the win. Houston has a valuable role with Arkansas' special teams and, in addition to playing on the punt block team, is a gunner on the punt team.

"I'm taking pride in everything," Houston said. "I'm giving it up for this team. We had good gunners last year in (cornerback) Ahmad Carroll and (receiver) Tom Crowder. They're big shoes to fill and I don't want to let this team down."

Even more, Houston doesn't want his hometown team to walk out of Arkansas with a win Saturday.

"This weekend I'm going to go out and play my heart out," he said. "I'm coming out with a swagger, make them think about not recruiting me as hard as coach Nutt did."

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