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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Justin Houston declares for the NFL draft

Justin Houston took his decision right up to the deadline, but the Georgia linebacker still made the decision most expected: He will enter the NFL draft and bypass his senior year.

Houston’s decision was announced early Saturday evening by Georgia.

Here is the statement by Houston, per a UGA release:

“I want to thank the University of Georgia and the coaches for giving me the chance to come to UGA. Without Coach Mark Richt, I would not be where I am today. He has helped me grow from a boy to a grown man during my four years. It was a very hard decision to make but in the end, I had to do what’s best for my family and me. Thanks to all of the fans who were behind us the whole time I was in Athens.”

Here is the statement by head coach Mark Richt:

“Justin is a great person and great player and we’ll miss him. He’s been an integral part of our team the past three years. We wish him nothing but the best as he moves into this next phase of his football career and I’m certain he’ll be successful.”

The news means Georgia lost two players early to the NFL draft: Star receiver A.J. Green declared on Sunday, and is expected to be one of the top picks in the draft.

As for Houston, his status is a bit more unknown. Listed at 6-foot-3, 258 pounds, he could play outside linebacker or defensive end in the NFL. He will likely be eyed by teams that run a 3-4 defense, since he flourished in that system in 2010 at Georgia.

Georgia will now be without its two top playmakers from a defense that finished the season ranked fourth in the SEC in total defense and seventh in scoring defense. Inside linebacker Akeem Dent, who led the team in tackles, was a senior.

The Bulldogs also lost outside linebacker Darryl Gamble, who started eight games. Inside linebacker Marcus Dowtin, who was fourth on the team in tackles, has been given his release to transfer.

Houston finished the regular season as the SEC’s leader in sacks, with 10. He was a first-team All-SEC pick by the AP and the coaches, and was a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski and Butkus awards.

The Statesboro High School graduate finishes his career with 20 sacks and 38 tackles-for-loss. He also had one interception – on his final play at Sanford Stadium, to seal Georgia’s 42-34 win over Georgia Tech.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Houston, you're a Damn Good Dawg and will be missed! Go make some $ and enjoy your career.

Anonymous said...

Early Wednsday evening?

Paul said...

Best of luck, you were a DGD

Anonymous said...

Continue to make us proud Justin

Anonymous said...

Will fizzle in the NFL after about 3 years. With nothing much to show for his efforts except for some preseason highlights.

Often disappeared in big games against SEC competition.

Sorry, this is just how I feel. He would have really benefited from one more year here.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:16 you are certainly entitled to your opinion but....

The pros seem to think he will do well and likely draft him in the first round.

Would you pass up a few million guaranteed to play another year in college?

Jeff Miller said...

Couldn't agree more Anon 7:16. There are some guys that can go pro early and have wonderful careers, but there are guys that I think really need that extra year playing at the college level to be able to make that transition from college to pro football. The jump is much harder than people realize and I think Houston will be a no-name within 3 or 4 years. He really did flat out disapear against good teams and considering how great all NFL talent is I think he is going to get manhandled at that level. Just my 2 cents...

TvilleDawg said...

Andrew Luck stays at Stanford. Mark Barron decides to stay in Tuscaloosa. Both these players were projected first round picks. Brandon Spikes stuck around at Florida with Tebow - both first rounders.

Tell me the last time one of our projected first-rounders stayed for their Senior season?

They can not for school or program, just for the $$$.

Anonymous said...

Davis Pollack maybe? HA!

Steve said...

hey pollack stayed his senior season at uga, he said he just loved seeing kids wearing his red 47 up in the stands that did it for him