Houston feels at home at UF: Florida Gators recruiting

The Florida Gators recruiting class is looking to add to a good linebacker class in 2016 with three additions in 2017 and one of those prospects was on campus on Friday.

Linebacker James Houston (6-1, 226, Plantation, FL American Heritage) visited Florida a few weeks ago with his teammates and he returned with his parents on Friday.

“I just wanted to see them again,” Houston said on why he made last minute plans to visit. “I wanted to confirm what I saw last time on the visit. It just felt like a homely atmosphere, everyone seemed nice and the players and coaches seemed great.”

Houston watched the linebacker group closely on both occasions and he thinks they were better during the spring game then the time before.

“They looked good, they look really good,” he said. “I saw them practice and they look like they got better since the practice I saw them at. I was really impressed by them during the game.”

Linebackers coach Randy Shannon is the main recruiter for Houston and the linebacker coach has shared where he thinks Houston will play at in college.

“Coach Shannon is telling me he wants me more at WILL linebacker,” Houston said. “I like it because I can pretty much do everything at the position. I can come off the edge and do what I like.”

The coach and player have a unique relationship, as Shannon talks about stuff outside of football with Houston.

“He was talking to me a lot about life lessons and stuff like that,” he said. “He just really wants me to come here and be a Gator. We talk every week and I have a great relationship with him.”

Head coach Jim McElwain also shared a different message with Houston than most coaches do, and it hit home with the linebacker.

“Coach McElwain told me that the Gator community is a big community,” he said of McElwain’s message. “He said everyone looks out for everyone in the community. He expresses to me that he really wants me to come here and to play football here.”

After several visits this spring Houston is narrowing things down in his mind but he doesn’t want to release it just yet.

“A few schools stick out to me right now but I’m just not ready to put them out yet,” Houston said. “I really like Florida and I get that gut feeling when I come to Florida, it’s homey atmosphere and everyone is really nice here. Everyone is just out here hanging out and relaxing.”

INSIDERS TAKE: Houston had high praise for Florida and seemed to light up when talking about the atmosphere around Florida and the home feeling they show him. The Gators should be a team in the mix until the end with the linebacker.

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Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.