Speed is the name of the game for many top college football programs. One youngster who has seen his recruitment skyrocket over the course of the past few weeks partially due to his blazing speed is 2009 CB/ATH Johnnie Houston. You see Houston recently participated at a combine where he ran some astonishing 40 times for college coaches. At Tusculum the 2009 standout posted 40 marks of 4.31 seconds, 4.28 seconds, and 4.25 seconds. Needless to say the coaches offered Houston on the spot. Match that speed with a big time playmaker who has some unbelievable versatility and you have the makings of a whirlwind couple of weeks for Houston heading towards Signing Day 2009.
We caught up with Houston's head coach at Woodmont High, Richard Schrader, to talk about it all. There have been a number of schools in the mix recently for the talented Woodmont star Schrader told us. Tusculum, South Carolina, Illinois, Lenoir-Rhyne, Brevard, Coastal Carolina, and others.
Schrader says he's been with Houston on some recent visits and the 2009 prospect hasn't come home empty-handed. "We've been Tusculum and he ran those 40 times and they offered him immediately. We went down this past Tuesday for a visit to South Carolina. We checked out the facilities and walked around. He was okay with it. He's got to make a couple of decisions about whether he's looking for a bigger school or a smaller school right now."
The Woodmont coached talked further about Houston' recruitment. "Coach Ellis Johnson from South Carolina and I have been in contact for a while. We're waiting on a phone call tonight from Illinois and coach Bathard. We met with him this past Tuesday too and we may end up switching a visit to Illinois depending on how that conversation goes with them tonight."
"We took an official visit to Lenoir-Rhyne this weekend and they offered Johnnie while we were there. We've also already visited Brevard unofficially and they offered him as well. Coastal Carolina is coming on Tuesday and we have an official set up for this coming Friday."
Most schools envision Houston lining up at the cornerback position but Schrader says that Brevard would like him as a quarterback while Illinois is actually looking at Houston at the safety position. Regardless you don't find too many 6'0 197 prospect who run sub 4.3 second 40 times on a consistent basis and there's plenty more to back the late interest in Johnnie Houston.
From his quarterback position he passed for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also ran for 10 touchdowns and caught 3 touchdown passes as well. On the defensive side of the ball he made 7 interceptions as well.
Houston has qualified for D1 as Schrader informed us that Johnnie posted a 20 on the ACT while earning 3.8 this past semester. "He is qualified and meets all requirements on the sliding scale."
Asked to talk in-depth about Houston, Schrader replied, "He's an outstanding kid. In terms of athleticism and character he doesn't have any issues. He's gonna make a great team player. He's gonna be able to play wherever he's asked to play. He knows that he needs to contribute to the team in any way that he can. He's accustomed to playing a lot of positions obviously because he lined up all over for us. To me that makes him a better recruit because of his flexibility. He's also got good size at 6'0 197. He's a big corner and running a 4.3 is pretty impressive too."
The late push has logged a lot of miles for Houston and coach Schrader but the head coach expounded on the situation further. "It's exciting and a lot of stress with having several opportunities before him. He's gotta find a home that he's comfortable with the school and coaching staff. It's a big decision. He's gonna have to make a decision that's good for him long term. He's not a flashy kid, he doesn't call a lot of attention to himself. He may have to go with a smaller environment and if he feels it's the right fit he will. The market is open, he hasn't made any commitments and we'll listen to all comers until the last opportunity to make a decision. I think it's gonna be Monday-Tuesday decision. I don't see him making any snap decisions. His brother (Okoye Houston) is a very good football player as well and they are very close so that may play into it too."
Stay tuned for the very latest regarding what may become a highly interested couple of weeks for Johnnie Houston. There are already a number of schools showing heavy interest and we expect more to jump in down the stretch. SCPrepNation.com will have the very latest information so keep it locked right here!
Below you can check out some exclusive highlights courtesy SCPrepNation.com of Johnnie Houston during a battle with the Carolina Trojans earlier this season. Enjoy!
Go directly to YouTube.com and view in "HIGH QUALITY"
Kerry's Take: Here's another prospect who we highlighted early in the season who didn't have the big reputation heading into his senior season but after watching him just one game we knew he was a definite college prospect. Viewing the video above (go directly to YouTube and view in High Quality) you'll see one of his interceptions while playing at cornerback, multiple touchdowns passes, a monstrous tackle on a wide receiver, and ball skills on a punt return. Houston has a knack for making plays and given his size and speed he's a great pickup for whomever lands his signature come Signing Day. Outstanding prospect on and off the field who finds ways to make plays for his team. Houston even kicked off for his team this past season with 40% of his kicks going for touchbacks. That kind of versatility speaks volumes to how well rounded this youngster is on the gridiron. I can't remember ever having a player play the various positions Houston has and excel in all phases. In all honesty he's the kind of player every coach loves to have on their team.