RECRUITING: Gators Like Another Statesboro DE

The last time the Florida Gators signed a defensive end out of Statesboro, Georgia, they got everything they wanted and more. Jeremy Mincey proved to be a leader on and off the field and that has a lot to do with why he was selected in the NFL Draft by the New England Patriots just a couple of weeks ago. The Gators are after another defensive end from Statesboro and they're hoping to have the same kind of luck they had with Mincey.

(See Justin Houston profile)

Justin Houston brings a lot of the same physical qualities to the table that typified Mincey. He's 6-3, 240, and he can really run. It's obvious that speed and flexibility are what the Gators are looking for, particularly if you look at the three defensive linemen that are already committed to Florida's recruiting class of 2007. Houston would fit in nicely with this group as he's capable of playing a variety of positions, most likely at the weak side (fox) defensive end or even a linebacker in a 3-4 alignment.

You could field an offensive or defensive unit on a football team just with Houston and his siblings. His twin brother Jarrett is also a standout athlete.

"I have ten brothers and sisters," Justin said. "The oldest is 25 and the youngest is five. I have a twin brother that is a basketball player. He will go to college and hopefully we can go to the same school."

Justin also plays basketball for Statesboro. He's as versatile on the basketball court as he is on the football field. He's been asked to play every position on the basketball court at one time or another.

But, it is football that has the college recruiters making their way to Statesboro. Justin Houston gets new offers nearly every day. Already his offer list includes Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Oklahoma State. He already has trimmed the offers down to a short list that interests him most.

"Georgia Tech, Georgia, Auburn, and Florida are my top four," he said.

He talked briefly about the schools he likes:

GEORGIA TECH: "They have great academics and have a good football program. I'd say Georgia Tech has been contacting me the most."

GEORGIA: "I liked them since I was little."

AUBURN: "I liked them when I was little too."

FLORIDA: "I am interested in Florida, I just liked them growing up. I'm about four hours from Gainesville but never been there. I talked to Coach (Greg) Mattison and he was real cool."

Houston said he is doing well in school. He just took his first SAT exam and thought he did pretty well on it. He has spring ball out of the way and so it is probably time to concentrate on other things.

"Spring practice ended last week," he said. "I will play defensive end and a little linebacker. In high school I like linebacker at the next level I want to be a defensive end. I think I play like Jevon Kearse and he is someone I followed growing up."

If there is one area of his game that he has to work on specifically it is keeping his intensity level high at all times whether it's in practice or in games.

"Sometimes I slack off, but when I am going full speed no one can stop me," he said. "I am working hard on going hard on every play. If the game is fun I go hard all the time, but if the game is boring I don't go hard. My pass rush sets me apart. I have a very quick first step."

The Florida Gators are definitely interested in Justin Houston and even though there isn't a scholarship offer on the table yet, the interest seems mutual at this point. This seems like a good fit because Houston is capable of playing in a down position or standing up and linebacker.

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