NSD: Houston is Ready to Roll

The last member of the 2012 recruiting class to take his official visit to Madison, four-star quarterback Bart Houston is putting the fears to rest: he's not signing with any other school but Wisconsin on Wednesday's national signing day.

MADISON - With the entire Midwest in a January heat wave – seeing temperatures consistently in the 40s over the past week – and no sign of winter chills on the horizon, the University of Wisconsin campus was a flourish of activity. Bart Houston couldn't understand why.

"Everyone kept saying it was mild but I had a hard time calling it that," Houston told Badger Nation. "I guess I am a little spoiled being from California. We're out here in 60 degrees and we're complaining."

It was Houston's first visit to Wisconsin since a long four-day trip the second weekend of April, a trip he took with his dad that sold him that the Wisconsin football program was where he wanted to play collegiate football.

Between then and now, Houston – rated a four-star prospect and the No.7 quarterback in the country by Scout.com – finished his prep career as a three-time California Open Division state champion, a member of the coveted Elite 11 quarterbacks and a high school All-American competing as the starting quarterback in the U.S. Marines' Semper Fi All-American game.

This time around, Houston flew in by himself and simply became ‘one of the guys.'

"It was a fun weekend and it was great being there on the opposite end of the spectrum compared to my first visit," said Houston, who threw for 1,999 yards, 16 touchdowns and six interceptions his senior year. "It was a good experience meeting everybody, especially all the new coaches there. There's a lot of new coaches there (laughing) and it was hard enough learning their names, let alone the names of 20-25 new guys."

One name Houston didn't have to learn was the one belonging to Wisconsin's new offensive coordinator. Shortly after being officially hired, Matt Canada was on the road recruiting and made Houston's house one of his first destinations the weekend before Houston's official visit.

"It made me feel great that I was on the top of his list," said Houston. "He's the quarterback guy, so I at least hoped I was up on his list. He's a great guy and he did say the quarterback position is an open spot. He said anybody could take it and the best one will play. He said he's not changing the offense – it'll still be a pro-style offense – and what might help me is that he's changing some of the terminology, which means everybody will be on a level playing field learning the offense a little bit."

On campus, Houston was hosted by redshirt freshmen Sam Arneson and Jordan Fredrick, spent time with linebacker Derek Watt and got a surprise visitor of his recruiting class.

"Vince Biegel came down and I got to spend some time with him," said Houston. "He's a really cool guy and has a good head about him and knows what he's doing. They showed me where everything was and it was a great campus."

Although they had just spoken in-depth recently at his house, Houston spent some one-on-one time talking to UW coach Bret Bielema, and answering any last minute questions before everything becomes official Wednesday.

"It was basically the same stuff, different day," said Houston. "I like that I took my official visit after my in-home visit because Coach Bielema said he could reflect on how my family works. He really got to open up and tell me how excited he really is that I am coming to Wisconsin. He said I am really going to bond with the players and fit in because he saw how my family works together.

"Coach Bielema said how a kid treats his mother is the most important thing on in-home visits, and I agree with that. I always try to respect my mother all the time, even when Coach Bielema isn't around."


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