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2015 NFL DRAFT
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Reuben Houston

Height: 6-0 | Weight: 192 | College: Georgia Tech
 
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Overview

Houston was expected to emerge as one of the country's elite cornerbacks during his senior year, but serious off-field issues kept him away from the game until Tech faced Miami in the season's tenth contest.

Houston was suspended from the team over the summer after he was arrested on June 21 in connection with a marijuana distribution operation based in Fresno, California. Authorities said Houston allegedly conspired to distribute and possess 94 pounds of marijuana valued at $60,000, according to a federal criminal complaint filed in Fresno.

On Nov. 14, Superior Court Judge M. Gino Brogdon Sr. ordered Georgia Tech to reinstate Houston immediately to the football team, allowing him to suit up for the game against Miami. The school had already re-admitted Houston as a student, but felt it important for Houston's rights to allow him to participate on the football team.

Houston was a Georgia AAAAA Offensive Player of the Year selection by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a senior at Starr's Mill High School. He was a member of the AJC's Marvelous Metro 11, Super Southern 100 and Top 50 in Georgia. Houston was also named Class AAAAA Player of the Year by the Augusta Chronicle, tabbed to Max Emfinger's Super 20 in Georgia, chosen to the Border Wars Top 100 prospects in the South and was named Atlanta Touchdown Club Offensive Back of the Year.

The All-Southeast Region choice by Prep Star was an outstanding two-way player who gained 2,138 all-purpose yards and made 68 tackles and two interceptions as a senior. He rushed 145 times for 1,401 yards (10.4 avg) and 14 touchdowns and also caught 21 passes for 428 yards and five scores. Houston was chosen for the Georgia-Florida All-Star Game.

He also lettered in track, where he was a two-time state champion in the triple jump, winning the AAAAA title as a senior and the AAA crown as a junior. He leaped 47' 9 " to win the 2001 title, but had a personal best of 48' 11 " at the Georgia Indoor Championships.

Houston redshirted as a freshman at Georgia Tech in 2001. He was a key reserve during the 2002 campaign, recording 33 tackles (23 solos) with two sacks and three stops for losses. He recovered a fumble and caused four others while intercepting a pass and making three pass deflections. That performance earned him Freshman All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors from The Sporting News.

Houston took over weak-side cornerback duties as a sophomore. He posted a career-high 70 tackles (44 solos) with a sack and four stops behind the line of scrimmage. He batted away eight passes, intercepted three others and also recovered a fumble in 2003.

In 2004, he again started every game at left cornerback, delivering 48 tackles (36 solos) with four stops for losses, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Houston intercepted three passes, deflected three others and gained 50 yards on eight punt returns. Reinstated to the team late in the 2005 season, Houston made seven tackles (5 solos) with two pass deflections and a stop for a loss in three contests.

In 41 games with the Yellow Jackets, Houston started 26 times. He recorded 158 tackles (108 solos) with three sacks for minus-37 yards and twelve stops for losses of 68 yards. Houston recovered three fumbles and caused five others. He deflected 17 passes and gained 81 yards on seven interceptions. He also registered ten punt returns for 48 yards.

Analysis

Positives: Has a lean, muscular frame with long limbs, large hands and room to add more bulk … Has a very good feel for the receiver through route progression, doing a good job of shadowing and trailing in man coverage … Gets good depth in his pass drops and is quick to handle the switch-off when working in the zone … Shows good balance and smooth feet coming out of his backpedal … Has the loose hips needed to move laterally and comes out of his breaks with no wasted steps … Crisp in his plant and drive, taking good angles to the ball … Makes good adjustments on the move and shows natural hands securing the ball on the interception … Hard hitter who plays with good urgency, demonstrating the change of direction skills to slip through trash and make plays in backside pursuit.

Negatives: Has an off-field issue that could severely impact his draft stock … This is not a one-time incident and he needs to demonstrate better character and decision-making in his personal life … Has good timed speed, but seems to lack that second gear needed to recover when a receiver eats up the big cushion he allows … Does a good job of tracking the ball in flight, but needs to use his hands better to reach around and over the receiver in attempts to deflect the pass … Better in isolated man coverage, as he looks hesitant at times closing on the ball (quarterbacks capitalize on his big cushion by pushing the ball in front of him on short routes) … Hits with good power, but tends to attack the legs of his opponent rather than make the wrap tackle … When he goes so low to make the hit, he will sometimes duck his head, allowing the long-legged receivers to sidestep and elude (also prone to taking a stiff-arm when he loses sight of the opponent when going low before making the tackle).

Houston has a tight, lean frame with good upper body muscle tone, long legs, good bubble and developed calves and thighs. He is a confident pass defender with very good ball anticipation skills. He demonstrates the quickness and closing burst needed to make plays in the open field, showing the flexibility and loose hips to turn fluidly coming out of his backpedal. He plays with good urgency and has a knack for jumping routes and using his hands effectively to hinder the receiver's pattern progression.

In zone assignments, Houston is quick to pick up the switch-off and it is very rare to see him be late in his breaks, as he does a nice job of getting out of his pedal early. Still, he needs to do a better job of making plays in front of him, as he tends to allow a big cushion, which lets quarterbacks ding-and-dunk on him with short throws.

He has the hip snap to shadow and trail in man coverage. Houston will get turned some when he does not use his hands to keep contact on the receiver, and needs to be more functional with his hands in attempts to press his opponent at the line. He stays in control when planting and driving out of his breaks, displaying the change of direction agility to make sharp cuts when asked to work across the field.

His ability to take sharp angles and close on the ball is very effective, as he shows the acceleration to turn and run with the receiver. But for some reason he does not always generate the second gear needed to recover when the receiver eats up his cushion. Houston is good at making body adjustments on the move, but will struggle to locate the ball over his shoulders.

Houston is a natural hands catcher who will pluck the ball away from his frame, but needs to time his leaps better on pass break-ups, as he does not always get to the ball at its high point. The vertical jumping ability is certainly there, evident by his track exploits in high school, but he does not reach around and over the receiver to knock away passes as often as he should.

Houston demonstrates good leverage when taking angles to pursue in run support. He shows good aggression and a low pad level to break down and compete when coming down hill. He sometimes will get over-aggressive and fly past the play, but has the hip snap to recover and redirect.

He is more of a cut tackler than one with solid wrap-up technique, and long-limbed receivers can sidestep and elude when Houston attacks their legs. When he does make contact, he does it with good pop behind his hits. He needs to stop ducking his head when making the tackle (does this on occasion), as he then becomes susceptible to running into a stiff-arm. He has the functional strength to impact behind his hits and is not one who will back down from contact.

Before his arrest in 2005, there were several minor off-field incidents that drew concerns from NFL teams. With his case yet to be resolved and with no eligibility remaining, he will need to prove to teams that he is worth the gamble as a late-round draft pick. It was a certainty before his off-field issues that his talent warranted a first day draft selection. But, with his arrest and history of off-field infractions, he must demonstrate better decision- making and prove his past is behind him.

Career Notes

Houston was a two-sport star earlier in his career at Tech, performing on the track team in the triple jump for two years … Recorded 158 tackles (108 solos) in 41 games for the Yellow Jackets … Effective blitzer with three sacks and eleven tackles behind the line of scrimmage during his career … Hits with good pop, evident by the five forced fumbles and three fumbles that he recovered for Tech … Defended 24 passes during his career (seven interceptions, seventeen deflections).

2005 Season

Suspended from the team during the summer after he was arrested in Atlanta on charges out of California that he conspired to possess and distribute 94 pounds of marijuana with a street value of more than $60,000 … The felony charge is still pending … Was reinstated to the team for the final two games of the regular season vs. Miami and Georgia and the Emerald Bowl clash vs. Utah … Recorded seven tackles (5 solos) with a stop for a 1-yard loss and two pass deflections.

2005 Game Analysis

Miami … Made his 2005 debut during the game's opening series, assisting strong safety Chris Reis in tackling Sinorice Moss after the receiver gained 7 yards on a third-and-10 pass from QB Kyle Wright.

Georgia … Facing his old childhood friend, Georgia QB D.J. Shockley, Houston tackled Mohamed Massaquoi after the receiver gained 1-yard on a toss from Shockley at the end of the first quarter … With 1:02 left in the first half, Houston deflected a third-and-10 pass by Shockley to Bryan McClendon, forcing the Bulldogs to punt.

Utah (Emerald Bowl) … Houston's long, trying season came to an end in one of the team's poorest performances in history … Inserted as the nickel back, he posted five tackles (4 solos) with a stop behind the line of scrimmage and two pass deflections … Three of his tackles resulted in third-down stops, including one that took down tailback Quinton Ganther for a 1-yard loss on a third-and-goal play late in the third quarter … However, he also saw slot receiver Travis Latendresse burn Tech for first quarter touchdown catches of 14 & 23 yards, followed by a 25-yarder in the second quarter and a 16-yarder in the fourth quarter … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- SB Travis Latendresse-16 catches for 214 yards and four touchdowns.

2004 Season

Started all year at left cornerback, recording 48 tackles (36 solos) with four stops for losses of 21 yards … Caused and recovered a fumble … Deflected three passes and gained 16 yards on three interception returns … Also amassed 50 yards on eight punt returns (6.2 avg).

2004 Game Analysis

Samford … Opened the season with nine tackles (6 solos) and 2.5 stops for losses of 10 yards … Five of his tackles came on third-down plays … Stopped Ossie Buchanan for a 4-yard loss after the receiver caught a pass from QB Ray Nelson in the first quarter … Tackled Efrem Hill for a 6-yard loss on a second quarter drive that Houston killed on the next play when he prevented Hill from getting to a third-and-16 toss from Nelson … Hill did manage to elude Houston to snare a 6-yard scoring strike from Nelson with 4:12 left in the third quarter … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Efrem Hill-Eleven catches for 83 yards and a touchdown.

Clemson … Totaled six tackles (5 solos) with an interception and gained 43 yards on four punt returns … Picked off a second-and-10 toss from QB Charles Whitehurst at the Tech 2 and returned it four yards with 0:36 left in the first half … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Airese Currie-Six catches for 80 yards.

North Carolina … Collected five tackles (3 solos), chasing down tailback Jaque Lewis on runs of 12 yards in the first quarter and 24 yards in the second quarter … Also tackled Jawarski Pollock after the receiver gained 12 yards on a reverse with 3:43 left in the first half, but six plays later, Houston fumbled a punt return when he was hit by linebacker Melik Brown and North Carolina recovered, scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run by tailback Ronnie McGill … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Jawarski Pollock-One catch for 1 yard, one carry for 12 yards.

Miami … Made six tackles (3 solos), deflected a pass and caused a fumble … Tackled Akieem Jolla on a 6-yard pass from QB Kyle Wright on a third-and-14 play in the second quarter, forcing a fumble on the play, but Miami recovered the ball at the UM 22 … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Sinorice Moss-Two catches for 30 yards.

Maryland … His only tackle came when he stopped Steve Suter after a 13-yard gain on a third-&8 throw from QB Jordan Steffy in the third quarter … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Derrick Fenner-Three catches for 13 yards.

Duke … Followed with three tackles (2 solos), but was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct on a fourth-and-12 play late in the third quarter … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Deon Adams-No catches.

Virginia Tech … Registered six tackles (5 solos), including one behind the line of scrimmage, when he teamed with strong safety Dawan Landry to bring down tailback Mike Imoh for a 13-yard loss on a fourth-and-1 run at the start of the second quarter … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Josh Hyman-Three catches for 34 yards.

North Carolina State … Delivered a pair of tackles and also intercepted two passes … Picked off a third-and-6 pass thrown by Jay Davis at the Tech 42, returning the ball 12 yards to set up QB Reggie Ball's 10-yard scoring strike to fullback Jimmy Dixon in the second quarter … Intercepted another pass thrown by Davis in the fourth quarter to set up Ball's 1-yard scoring lob to Levon Thomas … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR John Dunlap-One catch for 27 yards.

Connecticut … Posted four tackles (3 solos) … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Keron Henry-Six catches for 65 yards.

Virginia … Deflected two passes and came up with four solo tackles … In the third quarter, QB Marques Hagans picked on Houston, hitting receiver Michael McGrew with 5, 6 & 10 yard passes and Fontel Mines with a 9-yarder to set up a 32-yard scoring run by halfback Wali Lundy … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Michael McGrew-Eight catches for 55 yards.

Georgia … For the first time as a starter, Houston did not record any tackles … Also was beaten by Reggie Brown on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Houston's childhood friend, QB D.J. Shockley in the second quarter … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Reggie Brown-Four catches for 27 yards and a touchdown.

Syracuse (Champs Sports Bowl) … Collected a pair of solo tackles with a stop behind the line of scrimmage and recovered a fumble … On the game's first play from scrimmage, Houston tackled tailback Walter Reyes for a 5-yard loss on a rushing attempt … Recovered a fumble after strong safety Dawan Landry stripped the ball from tailback Damien Rhodes on a 10-yard run in the third quarter, setting up a 1-yard touchdown run by Tech halfback P.J. Daniels with 0:40 left in the third quarter … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Jared Jones-Six catches for 61 yards.

2003 Season

Moved into the starting lineup at weak-side cornerback … Recorded a career-high 70 tackles (44 solos) with a 15-yard sack and four stops for losses of 22 yards … Recovered a fumble and deflected a team-high eight passes … Had three interceptions for 65 yards in returns.

2003 Game Analysis

Brigham Young … Began the year with seven tackles (3 solos) … Intercepted a third-and-1 pass thrown by QB Matt Berry to set up a Tech 26-yard field goal in the first quarter.

Auburn … Deflected a pass and posted six tackles (3 solos).

Florida State … Made five solo hits, including one where he stopped tailback Willie Reid for a loss of 3 yards and also picked off a third-and-goal pass thrown by QB Chris Rix, returning it 47 yards to set up a 47-yard scoring scamper by Tech tailback P.J. Daniels two plays later in the fourth quarter.

Clemson … Followed with ten tackles (7 solos) and a stop for a 2-yard loss.

Vanderbilt and North Carolina State … Totaled four tackles in each game.

Duke … Had a stop behind the line of scrimmage when he dragged down tailback Chris Douglas for a 2-yard loss and delivered five tackles (2 solos).

North Carolina … Named ACC Defensive Back of the Week after delivering two huge plays in Tech's win with a second-quarter 18-yard interception of a Darian Durant pass to set up an 8-yard scoring strike from Tech QB Reggie Ball to P.J. Daniels.,.Sacked Durant for a 15-yard looss earlier in the game … Recovered a fumble that was caused when linebacker Keyaron Fox stripped the ball from tailback Jacque Lewis on a rushing attempt in the fourth quarter, setting up a 26-yard touchdown pass from Tech's Jonathan Smith to Nate Curry … Also had eight tackles (3 solos) and a pass break-up.

Virginia … Credited with a career-high twelve tackles (9 solos).

Tulsa (Humanitarian Bowl) … Only recorded one solo tackle, but also deflected a career-high four passes.

2002 Season

Named to the Atlantic Coast Conference All-Freshman team by The Sporting News . . . Played in every game as the nickel back and totaled 33 tackles (23 solos) with two sacks for minus 22 yards and three stops for losses of 24 yards … Caused four fumbles and recovered another … Had one interception and three pass deflections.

2002 Game Analysis

Connecticut … Deflected a pass and intercepted another on an option toss by receiver Keron Henry at midfield in the fourth quarter.

Brigham Young … Registered eight tackles (3 solos), deflected a pass and sacked QB Lance Pendleton for an 11-yard loss in the third quarter on a third-and-7 play, forcing the Cougars to punt.

North Carolina … Posted four solo tackles and sacked QB Darian Durant for an 11-yard loss … Caused a fumble when he tackled Bobby Blizzard at the Tech 1-yard line after the tight end raced 60 yards with a pass thrown by Durant in the third quarter. Tech would then march 80 yards on 18 plays to set up a 1-yard touchdown run by fullback Ajenaui Eziemefei.

North Carolina State … Caused a fumble on a first-and-goal play during the game's opening drive when he stripped the ball from Bryan Peterson after the receiver caught a pass from QB Philip Rivers, but State's T.A. McLendon recovered the ball at the Tech 16 … Later in the fourth quarter, Houston recovered a fumble by McLendon at the Tech 31 after a 21-yard run.

Florida State … Followed with a four-tackle performance.

Duke … Collected five tackles (4 solos) … Caused a fumble in the third quarter when he tackled QB Adam Smith on a 7-yard run and the ball was recovered by linebacker Keyaron Fox at the Tech 32.

Fresno State (Silicon Valley Classic) … Credited with four solo tackles, including one that stopped receiver Jermaine Jamison for a 2-yard loss on a fourth quarter reverse … Also caused a fumble when he stripped the ball from Jamison after a 2-yard catch of a third-and-3 pass from QB Paul Pinegar and Tech's Jeremy Muyres recovered the ball at the Tech 27.

2001 Season

Redshirted as a freshman.

Injury Report

2001: Suffered a separated left shoulder AC joint during a scrimmage with the scout team in early December. The injury would continue to bother him throughout his career before finally undergoing surgery to repair the shoulder in January, 2004.

2004: Missed part of spring drills in April when he was diagnosed with a herniated fifth disc in his back.

2006: Could not complete the agility tests at the Combine due to leg cramps.

Agility Tests

Campus: 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash … 330-pound bench press … 35.5-inch vertical jump … 31 7/8-inch arm length … 10-inch hands … Right-handed … 32/43 Wonderlic score.

Combine: 4.64 seconds in the 40-yard dash … 2.7 20-yard dash … 1.62 10-yard dash … Bench presses 225 pounds 21 times … 41.5-inch vertical jump … 10'7" broad jump … 4.42 20-yard shuttle … 30 -inch arm length … 9 7/8-inch hands.

Off-Field Issues

2005: Houston was arrested Tuesday, June 21 in connection with a marijuana distribution operation based in Fresno, California. Houston allegedly conspired to distribute and possess nearly 100 pounds of marijuana valued at $60,000, according to a federal criminal complaint filed in Fresno. He sat in U.S. Magistrate Gerrilyn Brill's courtroom on June 22 on the 18th floor of the Russell Federal Courthouse with his feet shackled and his eyes straight ahead.

Dressed in a Yellow Jackets' blue pullover and gold shorts, Houston made his first appearance in court since being arrested in Atlanta on Tuesday evening. According to the criminal complaint filed by the United States District Court in eastern California, Houston is charged with conspiracy "to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana."

During the almost 45-minute long hearing, Houston was granted bail and given the date of his next court appearance. The 22-year-old, released on a $30,000 property bond, was ordered to report on June 27 in Fresno, where the charges originated. Surrounded by his mother, Patricia Houston, his lawyer, Jeffrey Brickman, and assorted family members, Houston left the courthouse without comment.

During the hearing, the criminal complaint, notarized by federal law enforcement officer Mark Rodriques, was released. In the complaint, Rodriques gave a statement of probable cause, saying that in May 2004, an investigation was started into a marijuana distribution ring that was allegedly headed by Oscar Rosales.

The Fresno Methamphetamine Task Force, composed of several law enforcement agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration and the IRS "targeted" Rosales for more than a year before arresting him and charging him for "sales and distribution of large quantities of marijuana."

One of the conditions of Houston's bond is that he is to have no contact with Rosales or Rosales' nephew, Anthony "Tigger" Baltazar, who has also been arrested and charged.

According to the sworn affidavit, Houston became involved in the investigation when Rosales told an undercover agent that a load of marijuana, totaling almost 94 pounds worth $60,000, was to be dropped off in Atlanta. The complaint said that on Feb. 12, 2005, Baltazar and the undercover agent met with Houston on the Georgia Tech campus in front of an unnamed dormitory.

The transaction never took place after both Baltazar and Houston "got paranoid" that cops were following them. On May 17, Baltazar was arrested and gave Rodriques a statement that named Houston as his "connection in Atlanta." That same day, the undercover agent "positively identified" Houston.

Rodriques signed his affidavit on June 7, and the warrant for Houston's arrest was signed exactly one week later in Fresno. It is not clear where Houston was arrested in Atlanta.

If convicted of the charges, the Peachtree City native faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $1 million fine and a $100 penalty assessment.

On November 14, 2005, Fulton County Superior Court Judge M. Gino Brogdon ordered Georgia Tech to reinstate Houston to the football team and school, even though Houston is facing felony drug charges and has been suspended from the team all season.

The ruling shocked Georgia Tech athletic director Dave Braine, who nonetheless pledged to abide by the decision. Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey said Houston would play in the final two games of the 2005 season.

At the time of his arrest, Houston was suspended from the team and from the school, but while appealing those suspensions he was allowed back into school and granted the room and board privileges given other scholarship athletes.

"My decision, upheld by the athletic board, is Houston had violated a student-athlete code of conduct by being charged with the felony and in so doing he should not be able to play," Braine said. According to Braine, Houston's appeal of the suspension was denied by Georgia Tech's student affairs office less than a month ago, and Houston had to leave school.

However, Houston continued to seek legal relief and he was readmitted to school, according to Braine. Brogdon's court order means Houston also must be reinstated to the team. "I feel compelled to say that this decision will send shock waves through college athletics programs around the country," Braine said. "Playing college football, especially at a school like Georgia Tech, is a privilege, not a right. We must be able to set standards of conduct for our student-athletes, and we must be able to enforce and maintain discipline."

During his career at Georgia Tech, Houston was also arrested two other times for driving with a suspended license.

1998: Was arrested for loitering.

1997: Was arrested for theft after he took some golf carts in his community for a joy ride.

Track

Earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors with a second-place finish in the triple jump at the 2002 ACC Indoor Track and Field Championships; leaped 47 feet, 7.0 inches … Also jumped 49 feet, 9.25 inches at the 2003 ACC Championships and placed fifth.

High School

Attended Starr's Mill (Fayettville, Ga.) High School, playing football for head coach Mike Earwood … Georgia AAAAA Offensive Player of the Year selection by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a senior … Member of the AJC's Marvelous Metro 11, Super Southern 100 and Top 50 in Georgia … Also named Class AAAAA Player of the Year by the Augusta Chronicle, tabbed to Max Emfinger's Super 20 in Georgia, chosen to the Border Wars Top 100 prospects in the South and was named Atlanta Touchdown Club Offensive Back of the Year … The All-Southeast Region choice by Prep Star was an outstanding two-way player who gained 2,138 all-purpose yards and made 68 tackles and two interceptions as a senior … Rushed 145 times for 1,401 yards (10.4 avg) and 14 touchdowns and also caught 21 passes for 428 yards and five scores … Chosen for the Georgia-Florida All-Star Game …

Also lettered in track, where he was a two-time state champion in the triple jump, winning the AAAAA title as a senior and the AAA crown as a junior … Leaped 47' 9 " to win the 2001 title, but had a personal best of 48' 11 " at the Georgia Indoor Championships.

Personal

Management major … Son of Patricia and Luther Houston … Born Reuben James Houston on 10/30/82 … Resides in Peachtree City, Georgia.

 
 

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