Meeting the Right People

After not taking a scholarship quarterback in the 2011 recruiting class, Wisconsin and offensive coordinator Paul Chryst are scanning the country to find the next Scott Tolzien. From the way he plays to the way he acts, the Badgers appear to have found one in De La Salle (Ca.) quarterback Bart Houston.

MADISON - When you look at his career numbers, Scott Tolzien may be one of the best passing quarterbacks Wisconsin has had in its history. A quarterback with average speed and elusiveness but with a deadly eye, Tolzien was 21-5 as a starter and left Wisconsin holding school records (min. 300 att.) for career completion percentage at .681 and career QB efficiency rating of 153.2.

Having just seen the success from Tolzien, it's no surprise that Wisconsin is actively recruiting De La Salle (Ca.) High quarterback Bart Houston, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound pocket passer who admittedly relies on his accuracy to compensate for being a little on the slower side.

Sounds like a Tolzien clone, which also makes it no surprise that Tolzien and Houston had dinner together Friday night on what was an in-depth and informative four-day weekend at Madison.

"It was a pretty good weekend and a really successful trip," Houston told Badger Nation Sunday. "Having dinner with Scott was great. I had a great time with him. I talked to him a lot about the school, his experiences at Wisconsin and I hung out with a lot of other players Saturday night as well. There are a lot of good guys on the team."

Arriving on Thursday, Houston, who wants to major in chemical engineering, toured the engineering department for most of Friday, getting a chance to speak with professors and see the facilities.

"I had a fun time and learned a lot about the school part of Wisconsin," Houston said.

On Saturday, Houston – a four-star quarterback ranked No.7 in the country by - got to see the football side of things with Wisconsin scrimmaging, talk to Head Coach Bret Bielema and experience some players doing work in the weight room with Strength Coach Ben Herbert after the physical scrimmage.

"It was real high tempo," Houston said. "I liked how they practiced and how they lifted. Everything is high tempo, and I really like that. Coach Bielema talked to me about why coming to Wisconsin was such a good thing for me. He really wanted to emphasis that there were a lot of good people at Wisconsin. There are a lot of good people there, including Tolzien."

Although traditionally not recruiting California, offensive coordinator Paul Chryst still had contacts in northern California from his time coaching at Oregon State, connections that helped him get in touch with Houston.

"I have a good relationship with him," Houston said. "Three or four months ago, he contacted me via email and told me to give him a call. We've been talking on the phone ever since."

As a junior, Houston completed over 66 percent of his passes, throwing for 1,922 yards and 20 touchdowns to just four interceptions, impressive numbers considering he usually played the first half and only played two complete games due to his team's strength. Throw in the fact he rushed for 11 touchdowns and it's easy to see why Houston is the state's top rated quarterback.

"I think what I do best is I am accurate," said Houston, who up his completion percentage to 77 percent in the playoffs. "I am very consistent and I feel my progression through my reads, my decision making and my leadership in the huddle are strengths."

In addition to Wisconsin, Houston has offers from Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, UCLA and Washington and plans to visit Colorado and Iowa during his spring break by the end of April. This summer, Houston plans to go to a few camps, possibly back to Wisconsin.

While he isn't ready to announce his favorite, Houston plans to be productive in his recruiting over the next several weeks.

"I am going to keep my options open, figure out my top three at the start of summer and commit by the end of summer," Houston said.

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