Louisville next in line for Ryan Houston?

Ryan Houston, the No. 17 running back prospect nationally, is shopping around for a new school in case things don't work out with North Carolina. Louisville is right in the mix with the athletic 6'2, 250-pound standout and will get a visit. What's the latest? Could Louisville be Houston's next choice if he backs out of his commitment to the Tar Heels?

Ryan Houston, the No. 17 running back in the nation and a four-star prospect, will make an official visit to Louisville.

Houston, who committed to North Carolina last summer, is reconsidering his commitment after the announcement last week that Tar Heel coach John Bunting will not return to Chapel Hill next season.

"He's definitely going to visit Louisville," Houston's coach, Mike Newsome, told InsideTheVille.com Monday afternoon. "He's keeping his commitment to North Carolina until he sees who they hire, but he's definitely going to take a visit to Louisville and keep his options open."

"I'm still committed to Carolina," Houston told InsideCarolina.com last week. "I committed to play Carolina football, not ‘Coach Bunting Football.' I'm still firmly committed to Carolina, but I'm going to take more visits and check around, because I don't know what kind of coach they're going to bring in to Carolina. Depending on who they bring in is going to effect my commitment."

Newsome said that Louisville has talked about bringing Houston up for a visit in December when Rick Pitino's team plays host to rival Kentucky. However, a commitment to play in North Carolina's Shrine Bowl makes that date unlikely to work out.

So when might Houston visit U of L? According to Newsome, the 6'2, 250-pound star running back could visit Louisville as soon as next week.

Four-star RB Ryan Houston
will visit Louisville, possibly
as soon as next week.

"If we win our game tonight and get a number one seed in the playoffs and play a 16-seed, it's possible he could get up there next weekend," explained Newsome.

Louisville coaches have kept in constant contact with Houston this fall despite his verbal commitment to North Carolina. "They call about once per week just like everybody else," Newsome said. "Joe Whitt is recruiting Ryan and he's the one who calls."

Besides Louisville, Houston is also considering Clemson, Tennessee and Florida. However, according to Newsome, the Cardinals might be the choice if Houston decides against North Carolina.

"Louisville was next in line for Ryan the first time he committed to Carolina," Newsome said. "I think that's probably still the case. He likes Clemson, too, but they just signed one of the top running backs in the nation last year. And he likes Tennessee but they've got two commitments this year from highly rated running backs."

Immediate playing time will play a big role in Houston's decision.

"He wants to go to a place he can go in and make a difference right away," Newsome said.

The appeal with Louisville, according to Newsome, is Bobby Petrino's track record of using big running backs in his explosive offense.

"He knows they like to use big backs like Eric Shelton and Michael Bush," Newsome said. "We're familiar down here with Shelton because he played for the (Carolina) Panthers. Ryan wants to play running back in college. He's as good as Jerome Bettis and he's the type of athlete like Michael Bush."

Houston has rushed for 1,380 yards and 20 touchdowns this season. He needs just 120 yards to break the Mecklenberg County (Charlotte) career rushing record currently held by Jacksonville Jaguar running back Alvin Pearman.

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