Recruiting Lift Oft for Houston

The younger brother of Wisconsin commit Bart Houston, De La Salle (CA) junior defensive end Sumner Houston showed flashes last week in front of the Wisconsin coaching staff that he has the makings of a Division 1 recruit.

MADISON - As his senior season progressed toward another state championship, senior quarterback and Wisconsin commit Bart Houston kept reeling in the accolades. An Elite 11 quarterback, four-star recruit and team captain, Bart grabbed most of the headlines and attention when De La Salle High stepped on to the field.

On the other side of the football was a little known sophomore defensive end named Sumner Houston, who plays the perfect position for a person not striving for a lot of the limelight.

"Most linemen are in the background of the defense, not getting noticed and doing most of the grunt work, while the other guys are making the big plays and getting the interceptions," Houston told Badger Nation. "It was a positive that I played in the shadows (of Bart) last year.

"I was a sophomore last year and nobody knew about me, so I just had to play as hard as I could."

While his older brother is a 6-4, 200-pound quarterback, Sumner is a 6-3, 240-pound bull rusher, utilizing a big frame that allowed him to make 40 tackles on a De La Salle (CA) High team that added another California Open Division state championship to the trophy case.

"My strengths for that position are probably my quickness with my feet and my hands," said Houston. "I feel I have a long way to go with my quickness, but I believe that's one of my main strengths along with my all-around strength. I can bench press people off pretty well and use my leg strength to go through them or around them … whatever I need to do."

Coming off a camp at Oregon, Houston felt his three-day performance at Wisconsin's second high school camp showed more of what he was all about as a football player.

"The Oregon camp was my first camp, so I was all nervous, tense and stiff because I didn't want to mess up at all," said Houston. "I didn't let myself has as much fun as I wanted to, but that wasn't the case at Wisconsin. I had a lot of fun."

Houston spent most of the three days working with defensive line coach Charlie Partridge, who used his knowledge to change how Houston approached the position. Originally pointing in toward the quarterback with his stance, Houston learned that what he was doing was taking away from his outside advantage.

Correcting his stance to point him straight ahead at the line of scrimmage, Houston saw the immediate dividends – blowing right past the offensive lineman without getting touched on the next repetition.

"I think he really liked me," Houston said of Partridge. "He showed me a lot of techniques and I am planning to take them all back to De La Salle."

Partridge wasn't the only Wisconsin coach that took a shine to Houston, as he was invited into head coach Bret Bielema's office for a one-on-one visit to discuss his future.

"We had a deep discussion and he said my skill set and work ethic was things that he liked," said Houston of the meeting with Bielema. "He said I am obviously a different player than my brother, but (linebackers coach Andy) Buh will be visiting me when they come out to the West Coast for recruiting."

In addition to Wisconsin and Oregon, Houston has started getting letters from Arizona State, Oregon State and UCLA inviting him to summer camps and on unofficial visits.

While the master plan is to attend multiple camps next summer in hopes to starting grabbing scholarship offers, Houston accomplished his main goal in Madison before heading back to the West Coast – make a name for himself.

"When I got there, they just knew me as Bart's brother," said Houston. "I left as Sumner Houston."

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