Houston schedules fifth visit

Serra five-star linebacker and Under Armour All-American John Houston has taken three official visits of the four he scheduled back in September. This week, Houston scheduled his fifth and final official visit.

Five-star Gardena (Calif.) Serra linebacker John Houston hasn’t yet decided where he’s going to be playing his college football next year, but he has decided that he is going to take his final official visit in January.

“I’m taking the fifth one to USC on the 16th,” Houston said in a phone interview Friday night.

Houston’s decision comes on the heels of a strong in-home visit with USC recruiting coordinator and linebackers coach Peter Sirmon earlier this week. But the conversation didn’t necessarily center on X's and O's and the gridiron life.

“They are telling me more about education now,” Houston said. “Right now, I’m at the point where I want a school that’s more than just football. I want a school that’s going to help me in the long run and be better for me for not just football.”

“We were talking about education-wise, the connections, the alumni and everything like that. If you live here [in Southern California], you have more connections than you do if you live in any isolated area.”

Thoughtful off the field and a thumper when he puts the pads on, Houston seems to have a maturity beyond his age. Understanding that football only lasts for so long, Houston plans to major in criminal justice and he is soaking up the craziness of the final recruiting push.

“I wouldn’t say it’s hectic. Everything is just stacking up on top of each other,” Houston said. “I take it as a blessing because some people aren’t in the predicament that I’m in. So I take everything as it was if I wouldn’t have it.”

Houston has been in the midst of a whirlwind of pitches and visits from coaches, including an official visit to Oklahoma last weekend and five in-home visits in a span of three days during the middle of this week.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound prospect said his trip to Oklahoma was “good.” He enjoyed the coaches, particularly linebackers coach Tim Kish and that the players were a tight-knit group.

“Everybody was very kind. It was amazing how it was. You could see it was a program that has a bond. I could see throughout all the players that they have a bond. I like that.”

After finishing with 134 tackles in 11 games this season, Houston will next be in action on January 2 when he participates in the Under Armour All-America High School Football Game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. While there will be commitment decisions announced live during the game, don’t expect one from Houston.

“I’m going to wait all the way until National Signing Day [before committing] just because I don’t want to rush this thing,” Houston said. “Once I sign that letter, it’s all over. I want to make the right decision for me and my family and me in the long run.”

Just because there has been a pipeline from Serra to USC in the last few years, that doesn’t mean Houston will naturally follow suit. But he did say that having people he knows already on campus doesn’t hurt.

“I see why Adoree’ and everybody went there just because it’s a great program and they love campus as a whole,” he said. “That was right for them, but is it right for me? That’s the big question I’m trying to ask to myself and trying to figure out myself.

“Is it my gut feeling to go here or is it not? Or am I going here just because someone is telling me to go here? I want a school that is right for me and be there for the long run. I just want to make sure it’s right for me before I make this decision.”

Houston has now officially visited Oregon, Miami and Oklahoma officially.

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