UCLA in Fight for Michael Houston

The Bruins are battling for 6-0, 240-pound Denver (Col.) Montbello running back, <b>Michael Houston</b>, with a Big 12 school currently being UCLA's main competition...

When UCLA running back coach Eric Bieniemy was a player at Colorado, his position coach with the Buffs was Oliver Lucas. Now, Bieniemy is hoping his former coach can send one of his prized pupils out West.

Denver (Colo.) Montbello running back Michael Houston (6-0, 240) is under the same tutelage that made Bieniemy a Heisman Trophy finalist with CU, and Houston said in his conversations with Bieniemy he sees a lot of Coach Lucas in him.

"Oh man, Coach EB, he is just a real good coach. When I talk to him on the phone, I notice that Coach Bieniemy is a lot like Coach Lucas. They are really similar," said Houston.

While Houston said UCLA is clearly in the running for his services, Texas right now could be the team to beat.

Houston tripped to Austin two weekends ago during the Longhorns epic comeback over Oklahoma State.

"Man, what a trip that was. It was real nice, I got a real nice vibe. Texas' running back situation is kind of shaky next year. Cedric Benson graduates and Selvin Young has an injury and another running back could be gone, so they have some playing time available."

But that doesn't count out the Bruins. Houston said, "Oh no, UCLA has a real good situation too. I know they have Maurice Drew still and the freshman (Chris Markey), but I know Coach Bieniemy uses a lot of running backs, and he says he wants me to be like Manuel White, that bruiser back. Most schools want that bruiser back for the yardage."

Houston will trip to UCLA when the Bruins host USC the first weekend in December. He has also set a trip to Iowa State the following weekend, and will visit Colorado, with the date to be announced soon.

Two other schools could receive a visit from Houston, though he hasn't decided which ones yet. "Notre Dame and Kansas State are two other schools I've heard from, but the other schools have offered me."

Houston said he will make a decision after he's taken his trips but will decide in December. "I'm on track to graduate in December, so I need to make my decision fairly soon."

On the year, Houston has led Montbello into the second round of the Colorado State Playoffs as they knocked off Regis last weekend in the first round.

"They beat us the first game, but we beat them the first round," said Houston, who has 1,400 yards and 30 touchdowns on 160 carries.

Houston has a 3.4 GPA and scored a 19 on his ACT.

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