It didn't take long for Galena Park North Shore running back Tristian Houston to decide that he wanted to be a Texas Longhorn -- the 5'11, 200-pounder committed on the spot after receiving an offer from head coach Charlie Strong on Monday.
A consensus three-star prospect, Houston is rated as a four-star recruit by 247Sports. The Composite rankings have him as the No. 50 running back and No. 61 player in the state of Texas. His grade of 90 by 247Sports slots him as the No. 28 running back in the country.
An offer had been in the works for Houston for some time, as reflected in his Crystal Ball projections -- all six predictions had him going to Texas, dating back to the middle of February, when it looked like an offer was going to come for Houston at a Junior Day.
The process ended up moving a little more slowly, but it didn't change things for Houston, who also had offers from Arkansas, LSU, Maryland, Mississippi State, Oregon State, and UCLA.
The North Shore product had also visited for the Texas Relays several weeks ago.
The 40 speed for Houston is variously listed between 4.43 and 4.50, but there aren't any verifiable times. On the track, he's only broken the 11-second mark in the 100m on rare occasions and those times appear to be wind-aided -- put a likely testing time closer to the latter number above than the former.
Regardless, Houston has a relatively ideal build for the position with the capability of playing around 210 pounds in college, right around where Johnathan Gray is right now. As a result, Houston doesn't project as a power back at the next level, putting an increased emphasis on his speed.
North Shore used him a lot as a junior in the jet sweep game, getting him on the perimeter with blockers in front. Houston has good quickness to the edge, but can't turn the corner with the same speed as Daje Johnson, for instance, though few players in college can.
His experience running outside zone should benefit him at Texas and he does also get some work from the shotgun, so he's not entirely an outside runner.
A pretty no-nonsense runner on inside zone, Houston doesn't waste any time hitting holes and getting vertical when the openings are there. And at times he can show some shake, planting and exploding with some lateral quickness to get outside and using the angle of a defender against them in the open field much in the way that Gray did in high school.
But as with Gray, the question is whether he has the explosiveness to break long runs in college, enough escapability to make defenders miss, and the strength to pick up extra yards after contact. Houston's ability to answer those questions will ultimately define his collegiate upside.
The in-state running back class is loaded this year and Texas has now managed to take advantage by landing Houston and South Oak Cliff speedster Jordan Stevenson. Is the staff done recruiting at the position or will big Rockwall back Chris Warren still remain a significant target? The guess here is that the staff does want to add a big back to the class and will continue recruiting Warren. And what about California product Kirk Johnson, who is visiting this week and doesn't quite have the size to project as a true power back?
Houston is the ninth commit in the 2015 class for Texas with Corpus Christi Flour Bluff cornerback Jalen Campbell no longer listed as s commit. The group ranks No. 8 nationally and No. 1 in the Big 12 in the 247Sports Composite team rankings.