Gerard Martinez

Serra 2020 linebacker Justin Houston making his own name

Justin Houston is a distant future target for USC, but with three years to go until he signs a letter of intent, he already has a scholarship offer.

As USC redshirt sophomore John Houston competes for a starting linebacker spot for the Trojans this fall, his younger brother Justin Houston does the same at Serra. 

The 2020 linebacker has three years to go before he worries about college, but at 6-foot-4, 190-pounds, he is already making an impact for the Cavaliers this offseason in passing league. 

“This is a big year for me, but not just for me, but our whole team,” said Houston. “The 2018 class is good and we want to… we are going to Anaheim. 

“That’s the focus right now. I want to make sure we get better as a whole, not just me.”

Having said that, college coaches are already watching Houston closely. With his long frame and height, Houston standouts quite literally. 

“It’s exciting that coaches are looking at me and that I’m making my own name,” said Houston. “I have my brother at USC, but coaches are now looking at me as a player for what I do. 

“I talked to Nevada when they offered me, but I haven’t really spoken to many coaches myself. They usually ask about me through my high school coaches at Serra.”

Of course, with his brother playing for the Trojans, Houston has been to campus at USC numerous times with his family. 

“I feel love every time I go to USC,” said Houston. “Everybody knows my name and who I am every time I go up there. 

“I have a lot of schools that I hope and pray that I get offers from. USC is one of those schools. USC, Oregon, Washington, Cal, Arizona… a lot of the Pac-12 schools. 

“I like Florida State and Texas as well. Those would be the two mains schools outside the West I would like to look at.”

While Houston has had a good spring playing for Serra, his coming out party may have been the Los Angeles Opening. In a tremendous group of linebackers, Houston still managed to garner rave reviews from the coaches at the camp. 

“I had to prove a point at that camp,” said Houston. “I wanted to prove that I belonged as an underclassman. I gave it my all and I felt like I did well. 

“They out me inside and outside, which is fine. I’ll play wherever the coaches want me to play. Some coaches want me to be a pass rusher, some coaches want me to drop in coverage. I’m 6-foot-4 right now, but I could see graduating at like 6-foot-5 and being 210, 215-pounds by then, so it all depends.”

With his brother John watching him at the 32 Cares Passing Tournament a few weeks ago in Los Alamitos (Calif.), Houston has gotten plenty of advice about the position he plays and the process he is approaching. 

“He tells me to be patient because it’s all coming,” said Houston. “He knows because I saw him be recruited. It took a long time, but when he got it, all kinds of teams came after him.”

On the flip side, Houston has been to USC enough times this spring to have his own take on how the Trojans may fair this season. 

“I’ve seen him become a man,” said Houston. “He was a five-star coming into USC and he got hurt. 

“That bad back injury put him out for like eight months. Then last year, he played special teams. He just wanted to get on the field — get in the rotation. He was patient and knew things were going to come. 

“Now he’s with the ones as a starter, so God has a plan.”

 


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