Getting a Wisconsin scholarship brought Plantation (FL) American Heritage linebacker James Houston IV up to Madison last fall. An opportunity to get a better feel for the Badgers’ program brought the three-star linebacker back to campus on Thursday.
“I got to see a lot more (than my unofficial visit),” Houston told BadgerNation. “I got to see the facilities, see the business center and sit down to talk to Coach Chryst, defensive coordinator Coach Wilcox, Coach Nokes and all of them. I just got to sit down, talk and really just get everything straight. It was good to get a more detailed looked and compare it to the other schools I’ve visited or will be visiting.”
There really hasn’t been much confusion between Wisconsin and Houston - ranked the No.53 outside linebacker in the country by Scout.com - since the Badgers became his first scholarship offer last October. Not only is Houston UW’s top target at linebacker, he’s the program’s top defensive target.
“They really emphasized that they really wanted me here,” Houston said. “They really think I can help the program so much and make a difference for the team. They tell me that I’m there No.1 guy for defense, so they must think really highly of me.”
Although primarily recruited by defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield, Houston has developed a relationship with former UW defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, who left in January for LSU and quickly offered him at his new address. Sitting down with Justin Wilcox was important for Houston, who had only talked to him previously on the phone.
“We went over the defense that we run,” Houston said. “We talked about life, going out for service projects, being a great man in the community and for the football team and for Wisconsin.”
Having a massive amount of scholarships, Houston continues to be surprised by the amount of interest he continues to receive from colleges.
“I was very surprised when I got my first offer from Wisconsin, and I was very happy about it and felt blessed, but I wasn’t really sure if other schools were going to come offer,” he said. “When they started, I was very happy and excited.”
Houston will head to Notre Dame Friday morning before going Michigan Friday night for the school’s spring game. Next week he’ll visit California and USC and plans to cut down his list at some point after that.
“I would love to take some officials,” Houston said, “but I’ll probably commit if I feel comfortable with a school.”