Houston puts the clamps down on offer

Don't mistake this Matt Houston for the 80's character on television, but there are some similarities. Both live in the Los Angeles area, and both know a little bit about justice. While the Texan millionaire made his name solving murder cases, this Matt Houston - from Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta - is known for his own brand of toughness.

"I'm not the fastest guy, I don't do anything great; I just do a lot of things really well," Houston told Scout.com Monday. Coaches like my hitting ability and my toughness. (Washington linebackers) Coach (Chris) Tormey, he likes my aggressiveness and my toughness. He said he loves how I bring the hat."

The 6-1, 212-pound Houston ran for over 900 yards and 12 touchdowns in seven games at running back, leading to first-team all-league honors, but it was his all-area accolades at safety that got the attention of the Washington coaches.

"I play running back and safety in high school," said Houston. "Fresno State recruited me as an athlete, but Washington wants to use me as an outside linebacker, because they think I'll grow and get faster."

Currently Houston boasts a 4.6 40, 32-inch vertical jump, 290-pound bench and 430-pound squat lift.

Houston visited Fresno State two weekends ago and Washington this past weekend. "The one thing they both have in common is that they both have great coaching staffs," he said of the Bulldogs and Huskies.

Fresno State, along with Colorado State, had offered Houston before he took his trip to Seattle. UNLV and Nevada were also showing significant interest, but it was the offer that he received on his Washington trip that meant all the difference to him.

"I told them that I had to talk things over with my mother," Houston said after the Washington coaches told him they were going to extend an offer to him. "I told her that I wouldn't accept anything until I got a chance to talk to her."

It was the culmination of a great 48-hour stay, according to Houston. "It was great," he said of his trip. "Coach (Tyrone) Willingham and his staff are all great people. I like coach Willingham's philosophy about the game and how he's going to change the program around with the players he's bringing in. Everything about that program is great."

Dan Howell was Matt's host. "We're a lot alike, just character-wise," Houston said of the Huskies' outside linebacker from Newhall, Calif. "Personality-wise, we could pass for brothers. He just told me about preparing for college and how physical it is. He said if I work hard, I'll be OK.

"He also told me that coach Willingham is the real deal."

Houston also talked about the conversation he had with Washington's head coach. "We sat down and had a serious talk," Houston said. "He's a great guy. We talked about football, academics and life. It went great."

And his initial reaction from meeting Willingham? "My first thought was, 'What you see is what you get.' He's upfront, he's not going to lie to you - and that's what I respect."

Houston has an aunt that lives in Seattle, but it was his first trip to the Emerald City. It won't be his last. "The people in Seattle are great, the players are all great guys overall," Houston said. "I think Seattle is the place to be."

So when Houston returned home, he knew he had to have a talk with his mother right away. "We just talked about things, and she asked me if I was sure," Houston said. "She asked me if I was sure and I told her that I was pretty positive about Washington. She just said that she loved me and that she was happy with whatever decision I made."

"I called the other coaches and let them know that I was going to be a Husky. Me and (Fresno State) coach (Pat) Hill had a good talk and he said he understood and wished me the best of luck. I talked to coach Tormey about it. He was very excited. But it's not official yet. I haven't signed anything yet."

Houston added that he expects to see coach Tormey in-house sometime this week.

Matt had an official visit planned to Colorado State next weekend, but in hearing him talk about it, a trip to Fort Collins is furthest from his mind.

"I'm going to tell the Colorado State coaches and tell them that I'm committed to Washington," Houston said. "That's where I fit in the best. Once I'm committed to a program, I don't think I should go and take any other visits."

Instead, he can think of things like the future, and possibly future roommates. He may have found one this past weekend in current UW commit Jake Merrill. "Jake's a great guy, him and Jake Locker," Houston said. "We were talking about being roommates together. He made me feel like we'd been friends for years. He's a great guy."

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