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January 25, 2009

Ohio ATH: I'll be an Ole Miss Rebel

West Chester (Lakota West HS) athlete Stephen Houston has been the object of much speculation since he committed to Ole Miss last October.

The 5-foot-10, 213 pound Houston played running back in high school and the Rebels have continued to recruit several running backs since Houston committed. That led to speculation that Houston might have academic issues and could be a sign and place candidate or might be in line for a grayshirt - to delay his enrollment from next fall to next January.

"My academics are in order but I don't want to comment on my situation right now," Houston said as he was winding down his official visit to Ole Miss on Sunday. "I plan on playing at Ole Miss when the time is right - whether that is next fall, or next spring, I don' t know. But I will be an Ole Miss Rebel."

Otherwise, Houston said his visit was everything he expected.

"My visit went great," he said. "I flew down (from Cincinnati) and they were on time to meet me (at the Memphis airport) and they showed me a lot of love. The team showed me a lot of love. It is just a good home away from home. Everyone was so nice and they treated me so well."

In addition to tours of athletic facilities and academic briefings, one thing stood out to Houston.

"Coach Derrick Nix, my position coach, treated me like I was already on the team," Houston said. "He sat down with me and showed me film of plays and how they play at Ole Miss."

With Ole Miss returning several running backs and several more on the commitment list, where does Houston see himself fitting in at Ole Miss?

"I'm not sure what my position will be at Ole Miss,". "I see myself playing some at running back and on special teams. But I'll play whatever position they want me to play. I just want to see the field."

When Houston committed early last October, Ole Miss was coming off a homecoming loss to South Carolina and a 3-3 record headed into a road trip to Alabama, but it hasn't been the Rebels' success that has mostly been responsible for influencing Houston to pursue his desires to play for Ole Miss.

"I followed Ole Miss all season," Houston said. "Coach Nutt came in and they had a big year. He got them believing in themselves. I'm glad that they had a winning season, but I would sign with them if they finished 0-12. I have always wanted to play for Houston Nutt and I know that he's is going to make a winner out of Ole Miss."

Houston said he plans on signing with Ole Miss on Feb 4 and received interest from several schools but never picked up an additional offer other than Ole Miss.

The athlete said his high school senior season was disappointing as his team failed to make the playoffs and he fought through the season with a high ankle sprain.

"It's like a lot of other things in life," he said. "I had some good moments and I had some bad moments. It was disappointing because of the injury and not making the playoffs."

He said he finished with "900 and something" rushing yards on the season despite the high ankle sprain.

Houston also said he received interest from several schools, but never picked up an additional offer besides the one from Ole Miss.

Houston ran an impressive 4.42 Nike Camp timed 40-yard dash. Houston spent his sophomore season at the Ohio school before playing as a junior at Little Rock (Fair), Ark., where he rushed for more than 1,500 yards. Houston moved back to Ohio prior to his senior season.




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