Player Profile – LB Justin Houston

PERSONAL FILE

Justin Houston

Born – January 21, 1989 in Statesboro, Georgia. Located in southeast corner of Georgia, Statesboro is a city of approximately 28,000 that in its history has been a center of cotton production and tobacco farming. It’s the home of Georgia Southern University.

BODY OF WORK

  • Height – 6-foot, 3 inches.
  • Weight – 270 pounds.
  • Arm – 34½ inches.
  • Hand – 10 7/8 inches.
  • 40-yard dash – 4.62 seconds (Pro-Day 4.61.)
  • 20-yard dash – 2.61 seconds.
  • 10-yard dash – 1.62 seconds.
  • Bench press – 30 repetitions at 225 pounds.
  • Vertical jump – 36½ inches.
  • Broad jump – 10-feet, 5 inches.

In the summer before his senior season in high school, Houston was 6-3, 228 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.7 seconds. He had a 35-inch vertical jump and a max bench press of 345 pounds.

HIGH SCHOOL

Houston was part of the graduating class of 2007 at Statesboro High School, part of the Bulloch County School District in Statesboro, Georgia. He played football and basketball for the Blue Devils. On the football field he played DE and TE for head coach Steve Pennington.

In all three basketball seasons from 2004 through 2007, Statesboro made the playoffs all three years, one year making the quarterfinals.

FOOTBALL    

He was a two-time All-Region DE for the Blue Devils and in his senior season he earned All-State honors. Statesboro won the 4A Georgia state title in Houston’s junior season. In the three seasons that Houston saw playing time with the Blue Devils varsity, they won 38 of 39 games at one point, including 24 consecutive victories.

2006 – As a senior, Houston had 56 total tackles, 4 TFL and 7 sacks. He earned all-state recognition as the Devils finished 9-2 on the season, opening with 9 consecutive victories. The Statesboro defense allowed an average of 8 points per game.

2005 – Houston was one of the leaders of the Blue Devils championship team. Statesboro finished 15-0 and he had 73 tackles and 8 sacks. Statesboro beat Warner-Robins North Side 13-10 in the title game.

2004 – Statesboro finished 14-1 on the season, losing to Warner Robins High in the playoffs 34-13.

RECRUITING

Considered a four-star recruit at weak-side defensive end, he drew scholarship offers from Georgia, Florida, Georgia Tech, Mississippi, Oklahoma State and South Carolina. Florida and head coach Urban Meyer put on a full-scale rush in recruiting Houston. On the Gators squad was DE Jeremy Mincey, who went to Statesboro High – he’s now in the NFL. Houston remained firm however and committed to the Bulldogs on June 14, 2006.

COLLEGE

Houston has worked toward a degree with a major in Housing at the University of Georgia.

2010 – Houston started all 13 games and had 10 sacks and a remarkable 44 quarterback hurries. He was named team defensive MVP. Against Georgia Tech he had 7 tackles, an interception and returned a fumble 18 yards for a TD. He was selected for several first and second-team All-America honors and was named All-SEC first-team.

CHANGING FROM 4-3 TO 3-4

After the 2009 season, Georgia head coach Mark Richt made the decision to change his defense to the 3-4, after playing the 4-3 for a number of seasons. He hired Todd Grantham, who had been the defensive line coach of the Dallas Cowboys. That required junior LB Justin Houston to go from putting his hand on the ground at DE to standing up as an OLB.

“I had to read more than to attack,” Houston said. “It feels great knowing that I’ve got just one assignment to attack. It takes a lot of pressure off you knowing there’s one thing you’ve got to do and you can focus on that one thing and be great at it.”

2009 – Houston was suspended for the first two games of the season for violating school/team policy. He made 10 starts, with 7.5 sacks; his best game was 4 tackles, 2 TFL and a sack against Arizona State. Houston missed the Tennessee Tech game because of injury. He was named to the second-team All-SEC defense.

2008 – He appeared in 13 games with one start, he had 19 total tackles and 2.5 sacks. His best performance came against LSU, when he had a 17-yard sack, broke up a pass and was credited with a QB hurry.

2007 – Houston sat out the year on his redshirt season.

Year 

G 

S 

Tot 

TFL 

Sks 

QBP 

FF 

FR 

INT 

PBU 

2010 

13 

13 

67 

18.5 

10

44 

2009 

10 

10 

39 

15 

7.5 

17 

2008 

13 

19 

4.5 

2.5 

16 

2007 

RS 

RS 

Totals 

36 

24 

55 

38 

20 

78 

2 

2 

1 

5 

PROBLEM #I

On May 9, 2009, Georgia coach Mark Richt announced that Houston would open the Bulldogs season on the suspended list, missing the first two games of the season against Oklahoma State and South Carolina. No official word was released by the university on what the violation of rules happened with Houston, but many media outlets in the state of Georgia reported it was a positive test for marijuana.

“(The suspension) motivated me to work hard,” Houston said at the time. “When I got into trouble, I left coach (Mark) Richt’s office with my head down. DE coach Fab (DE coach Jon Farbis) gave me a great speech. He asked me what my plan was. I told him I wanted to take my punishment and move on. But he told me that wasn’t enough. He told me that I had to strive to be perfect for now on. You can never be perfect, but you can strive to be perfect. Those were good words of motivation.”

“I felt that I had let Coach (Richt) and the team down. I was determined to make up for my mistake.”

PROBLEM #2

FoxSports.com reported on April 26 that Houston failed a drug test at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis in late February. The on-line site said it was a positive test for marijuana and that he was joined in failing the test was Iowa DE Christian Ballard.

GAME-BY-GAME

2010 Game-by-Game

Opponent

TT

TFL

SK

QBH

FF

RF

INT

PD

La-Lafayette

2

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

South Carolina

10

2

2

0

1

0

0

0

Arkansas

3

1.5

0

0

0

0

0

0

Mississippi State

4

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

Colorado

6

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

Tennessee

5

2.5

1.5

7

0

0

0

0

Vanderbilt

5

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

Kentucky

5

3

2

1

0

1

0

1

Florida

3

1.5

.5

0

0

0

0

0

Idaho State

1

1

0

5

0

0

0

0

Auburn

6

1

1

1

0

0

0

0

Georgia Tech

7

1

0

0

0

1

1

0

Central Florida

10

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Totals

67

18.5

10

14

1

2

1

2

2009 Game-by-Game

Opponent

TT

TFL

SK

QBH

FF

INT

PD

Oklahoma St.

Susp.

x

x

x

x

x

x

South Carolina

Susp.

x

x

x

x

x

x

Arkansas

7

.5

0

0

0

0

0

Arizona State

4

2

1

0

0

0

1

LSU

6

2

2

0

0

0

0

Tennessee

3

1.5

0

0

0

0

0

Vanderbilt

4

1.5

1

0

0

0

0

Florida

3

2

1

0

1

0

0

Tennessee Tech

DNP

x

x

x

x

x

x

Auburn

2

2

1

0

0

0

0

Kentucky

3

1.5

1

0

0

0

0

Georgia Tech

6

2

0

0

0

0

0

Texas A&M

1

0

0

1

0

0

0

Totals

39

15

7

1

1

0

1

2008 Game-by-Game

Opponent

TT

TFL

SK

QBH

FF

INT

PD

Ga. Southern

3

.5

0

0

0

0

0

Cent. Michigan

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

South Carolina

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

Arizona State

2

2

1

0

0

0

0

Alabama

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

Tennessee

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Vanderbilt

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

LSU

1

1

1

1

0

0

1

Florida

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

Kentucky

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

Auburn

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

Georgia Tech

2

.5

0

0

0

0

0

Michigan State

1

.5

.5

0

0

0

0

Totals

19

4.5

2.5

2

0

0

2

EVALUATION FOR PRO FOOTBALL

Strengths – Powerful body, with thick legs and rear end. He’s got very long arms and strong powerful hands. With all that size and power, he displays a burst when flying off the edge. Good body bend to move around the corner, with balance and leverage. Very good body control, change of direction and movement both laterally and north and south. Strong tackler, who consistently seems to wrap up, rather than just deliver the blow. He’s rushed the passer standing and with one hand on the ground.

Weaknesses – Underachiever as he does not always play up to his visible talents. He takes too many plays off. Scouts call it running hot and cold. If the play is away from him, he’ll give up on it and watch. Coverage is not his bag, as he is very limited when turning his hips. Pass rush is basic and he needs to develop secondary moves after his bull rush and rip.

Analysis – Physically gifted with skills that rank him in the upper 10 percent of college players. He does not match that ability with effort and intelligence. Testing positive at the NFL Combine for marijuana was either a cry for help or stupidity. Either way, it’s going to take some extra work at all levels of the organization if the third-round gamble is going to prove viable.

WHAT SCOUTS SAY

A scout for an AFC team – “We took him off our board after the positive test, but not just because of that. He tested positive two years before and didn’t learn from that. Plus, you watch him play and there are too many times when he doesn’t go full speed. The ball goes away from him and he’ll stand and watch. He’s not a first-round pick.”

A scout for an NFC team – “Boom or bust with this guy. If you grade him on physical abilities and he’s one of the best athletes in the draft. Add in his personality stuff and intangibles and you’ve got to wonder whether he can keep it together enough. Very immature and the test at the Combine was very disappointing.”

WHAT OTHERS SAY

Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham – “Pass rush is about being relentless because sometimes you might get blocked, but if you keep coming and a guy holds the ball, you’ve got a chance to get there. I’ve been very pleased with his progress as a linebacker in general and because of his effort and resiliency, he’s been able to make some plays for us that have been big down the stretch the last few weeks.”

Georgia linebacker Rennie Curran – “There was a point there where he could have taken the wrong path. But he took something that was negative and used it to motivate him and make himself a stronger person. We all saw how he worked in the summer. A guy who’s that dependable in the weight room and in the film room is going to translate well to doing great things on the field.”

Statesboro High basketball coach Lee Hill – “He’s just the leader for the whole team. We’ve got to keep him out of foul trouble because as he goes we go. He’s one of the best free throw shooters and 3-point shooters on our team. He’s our best big man. He means a lot to this team. He’s a go-to guy. He’s our leader.”

High school and college teammate DL DeAngelo Tyson – “I’ve seen his fight, his emotions towards the game and his leadership that he showed in high school. I knew when he came to college he was going to do the same thing.”

WHAT HE SAYS

“I want to practice hard and do my assignments. That’s my job. I’m here to help. I’m going to do the best I can to put pressure on the quarterback. I know I’ve to teammates to help me get the job done.”

“I’m not worried about my stats or my individual goals. I don’t have any. I just want to win.”


2 Responses to “Player Profile – LB Justin Houston”

  • May 7, 2011  - Tracy says:

    He was working toward a degree with a major in Housing? Brings to mind a comment by Joe Namath when he first signed with the NY Jets–In response to a jibe about whether he had majored in basket weaving, Namath said: “Nah. Basket weaving was too hard, so I changed to journalism.”


  • May 8, 2011  - txchief says:

    Housing degree: Hangin’ at da’ crib burning a fat one!




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