Pack Impresses One of State's Top Prospects

Pack Pride has the latest on tailback Ryan Houston following his unofficial visit to NC State.

One of the most sought after prospects in North Carolina for the class of 2007 will be running back Ryan Houston from Butler High School in Matthews, North Carolina. At 6-3, 230 pounds and boasting 4.58-second speed in the 40-yard dash, Houston is a man among boys on the high school level and that fact is even more apparent when you consider he lines up at tailback. Last season the rising senior rushed for 1,910 yards and 34 touchdowns and had better than 200 receiving yards en route to all-conference and all-state honors.

NC State wasted no time offering the potential all-american and hosted him this past weekend at their annual junior day event. Pack Pride caught up with Houston for his early thoughts on the Wolfpack program.

"It was great up there," said Houston. "The facilities were awesome. Everything up there is brand new, and they're making the stadium huge. The stuff they've got for their players is crazy. It was just really nice.

"I'm going to be honest. They kind of impressed me because when I went up there in tenth grade, they were just building a lot of stuff and it didn't look all that good. But they've finished a lot of stuff and it's looking good up there."

Houston also got time to spend with head coach Chuck Amato and the Pack's top man bypassed a lot of football talk, choosing instead to focus on encouraging Houston to make smart choices as he prepares for the jump to division one football.

"Coach Amato is a good coach," said Houston. "He was talking to me more about grades and life and the people I should be hanging around with. He wasn't talking so much about football, he was talking more about me getting my act together, grades and all that other stuff. It was more like he was talking about life's lessons than football."

With offers on the table from NC State, Michigan, Florida, UNC, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Tennessee among others, the battle for Houston's commitment will be an intense one. While some have pegged him for defensive end in college, Houston would much rather stay on offense given a choice.

"All of the schools have been talking about running back, but I don't know," he said. "Once you get to college they can move you where ever they want to. But they're all recruiting me for running back right now, and I want to play running back. I feel like that's the position I'm best at so I don't know why anyone would want to change me."

For now, Houston is still in the evaluation phase as far as a future college. He was reluctant to name any favorites but did list some schools that he's keeping a close eye on.

"I don't really have a top list of schools," he said. "I don't really favor one over the other right now. I haven't had a chance to visit all of the schools that have offered me yet.

"The main ones on my mind right now are UNC, Virginia and NC State. Those are the ones I've visited so they're the most on my mind. Out of state I'm liking South Carolina, Florida State and Michigan."

While a decision is likely months away, Houston knows exactly what he'll be looking for when it comes time to make that collegiate choice.

"The most important thing for me is going to be how I feel around the players. I've got to be there for the next four years so I want to be somewhere that's going to be like home. And another big factor is whether I'm going to play or not."

Houston plans to attend the Nike Camp at Georgia and the combine at Duke in March.

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