Inside the Class of '05: Michael Houston

The seventh in a daily series of interviews on members of the Longhorn Class of '05: Signee Michael Houston.

Michael Houston
Running Back
Denver (Colo.) Montbello High School
NR: 63 SR: 7 Star Rating: ***

An Inside Texas conversation with Montbello head coach Oliver Lucas on Houston who enrolled at Texas in January:

IT: What are Michael’s strengths as a football player?

Lucas: "He is strong and has cat-like feet. He’s got speed, size and strength. It’s unbelievable. He benches over 375. He’s an outstanding kid. He’s just a complete back."

IT: What did the Texas coaches tell you they like about Michael?

Lucas: "The number one thing was his size, his speed, his elusiveness and toughness. One tackler never brings him down."

IT: What are the areas of Michael’s game that he needs to improve upon to be successful in college?

Lucas: "He’s going to have to learn to pick up more of the blocking schemes in the passing game. That’s just the way it is when you get to the next level. Just like the pros, you’ve just got to learn to pick up the blocking scheme and the pass protection. He’ll be fine though."

IT: Is Michael a leader, and if so, how does he lead?

Lucas: "Excellent leadership. He’s a young man ahead of his years. He don’t sit around and wait for things to happen. If he sees a need for something to happen, he’ll talk to a lot of players and say, ‘Hey man, we need to go over and talk to some of these young kids that’s doing some things that may not be right. Let’s go over here and talk to them about that.’ That’s just him. He started a reading program. He went over to the elementary schools and took a group of the captains from our team and seniors and had them to go over and read to the kids at the elementary schools. He’s just a unique young man like that."

IT: What did Michael mean to your football program?

Lucas: "Meant quite a bit, meant quite a bit. I mean he was a leader for us. He was a captain. He was a person we could count on. The kid don’t miss practice. He works hard. He demands excellence and he’s constantly pushing everyone else."

IT: What are your overall thoughts on Michael?

Lucas: "He’s an academically sound kid. As far as being a complete student, he’s a student of the game. He studies hard. He’s a community person. All I can say is that Mack Brown is getting an excellent kid. He’s really outstanding. I coached at Colorado for seven years, so I wouldn’t blow smoke at people, but this kid is about as complete as I’ve ever had."

IT: How do you see Michael fitting in at Texas?

Lucas: "I see him fitting in real good. In fact, that’s kind of why he choose Texas over UCLA. He just felt like Texas and the players there was right for him. He’s going to be an exemplary example of an outstanding program. He’s going to be one that won’t ever embarrass the program, but he’ll bring a lot of national things and prominent things outside of football to them that really makes the community better and the state of Texas proud of."

IT: With Texas short on eligible and healthy running backs, Michael should get a lot of reps during spring practice. Will he be able to take advantage of that opportunity?

Lucas: "Yes. His attitude has always been that he’s going to play no matter where he went. But you know, most great players have that attitude about themselves. I can honestly say that Mike is going to fit in somewhere, because there’s stuff that he can do. He could be a great linebacker if he wanted. Whatever he wanted to do and whatever he sets his mind to is going to happen."

IT: On the football field, who is Michael most comparable to?

Lucas: "He’s just like LenDale White (of USC). That’s exactly who I think this kid is. I think that’s the kind of impact he’s going to have with the program. There’s a lot of great running backs there in the state of Texas, but you know every now and then, there’s other great ones outside of Texas. Michael is one of those running backs."

IT: How would you describe Michael’s running style?

Lucas: "A little bit like Earl Campbell. It’s reckless. Again, (Michael) has the speed to run away from you. That’s why I said he’s like LenDale. Really strong, but can run away from you too."

IT: When Michael’s career is over at Texas, how will he be remembered?

Lucas: "For being a Longhorn through and through. You’ll never know he’s from Colorado. He’ll be a Longhorn through and through until the day he dies."

UT Signing Day Bio: Three-year letterman at running back who enrolled at UT in January and will participate in spring drills … tabbed honorable mention 5A All-State by The Associated Press as a senior … rushed for 1,414 yards (No. 6 in the state) and 23 TDs on 202 attempts that season … also caught five passes for 51 yards … had six 100-yard games as a senior … rushed for 203 yards and four TDs in a 28-3 win over Denver East in 2004 … helped lead Montbello to an 8-4 record (7-0 conference) and the 5A state quarterfinals as a senior … named first-team All-City as a junior … rushed 43 times for 337 yards and five TDs … helped lead Montbello to a 9-2 record (8-0 conference) and the state playoffs in 2003 … a prep honor roll student who was the captain of the speech and debate team … founded local group, "Young People Against Violence" … has spoken at local elementary schools … also has worked with the Boys and Girls Club to promote safety in the community … born Oct. 4, 1986 in Denver.

"There's no better tradition in football. All you have to do is put up your Hook 'Em Horns sign and everyone knows what you mean. Plus, Mack Brown is simply the best coach in college football."


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