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August 26, 2013
2015 First Five-Stars: John Houston
They are the best of the best. The players wanted by every program and destined to make a big impact at the college level and beyond. Rivals.com has identified the first five-star prospects for the 2015 class and is unveiling them this week. Ten prospects have been awarded five-stars but are not ranked at this time, and we will profile two each day. One of today's five-stars is Gardena (Calif.) Serra linebacker John Houston.
John Houston, LB, Gardena (Calif.) Serra
Attributes: 6-foot-3, 207 pounds, 4.5 40
Scouting Report: Houston has outstanding size and he's incredibly rangy, so he can cover a lot of ground on the field and he has no issues getting sideline to sideline. With athletic and fluid linebackers, sometimes being physical is a problem. That's not the case with Houston. He's not afraid of lowering his shoulder and making the big hit, which he did numerous times last season as he helped Serra to the state championship. Houston has that unique blend of toughness and athleticism, and that's why he's so special.
Analyst's Take: "The first time I saw Houston was at a 7-on-7 in central California two years ago, and I immediately asked some of the Serra people who he was because I could tell he was going to be a special prospect. Houston has long arms, he runs well, he has the instincts to make plays all over the field, and he's one of the most athletic linebackers I've seen in a long time. Plus, Houston isn't afraid to hit. Last season, as Serra rolled through its competition, it was Houston making a bunch of plays and being one of the real forces on an outstanding defense." -- Adam Gorney, West recruiting analyst, Rivals.com
Why He's A Five-Star: "Houston is not only a rangy, long linebacker who can explode to the football and disrupt the passing game with his long arms, but he's a physical player as well. He arrives at the football with a purpose, and he's adept at getting skinny when he needs to and taking on blocks when he can't get around them and still making plays. His strength down the line will be as an outside guy running plays down and coming off the edge on blitzes. He has the potential to be a terror in that respect." -- Mike Farrell, national recruiting analyst, Rivals.com
His Coach Says: "He has as much athletic talent at linebacker as I've ever seen. He has good eyes, he's got strength, he's got speed, he's an amazing kid, and he's only going to be a junior. When the offense goes against the defense in practice, we have everything solid and then all of a sudden he's across the field and he's making plays even though we have it worked out perfectly. He's so fast. A lot of times, those fast guys aren't very physical, but that's not his problem. He's a very physical kid." -- Scott Altenberg, head football coach, Serra HS
Odds and Ends: Houston finished with about 100 tackles in his sophomore season, including more than a dozen in Serra's 42-15 state-championship victory over Oakdale in a game in which the Cavaliers were leading 35-0 at halftime. ... The 2015 prospect plays inside and outside linebacker for Serra but projects on the outside because of his length and athleticism. ... Houston will be the fourth five-star prospect from Gardena Serra since 2010. He joins Robert Woods, George Farmer and Adoree' Jackson on that list.
NFL Player Comparison: Aldon Smith, San Francisco 49ers