James Houston IV, the second best ranked inside linebacker in the state of Florida, told Scout.com that he plans to stay instate and join the University of Florida Gators.
Houston is ranked as the 46th best linebacker in nation by 247Sports. Despite suffering an ACL tear that will wash away his senior campaign, Houston had offers from many notable programs. This included SEC rivals Tennessee and LSU.
“Well, just with me and my situation, I feel like Florida is the best situation for me,” Houston told Scout. “It’s kind of close to home, (linebackers) coach (Randy) Shannon is a great coach, and Florida is really building a great team to compete in the SEC.”
Shannon, himself a South Florida native, has coached many All-American linebackers in his time as a coach. This includes former NFL stars like Ray Lewis and Jonathan Vilma.
As a junior at American Heritage, he totaled 37 tackles, one forced fumble, three fumble recoveries and one interception.
The 230-pound linebacker has shown a solid all-around game. He has the speed and length to work well in pass coverage, and also knows how to carry his body weight and use it as a tool for attacking the line of scrimmage.
The Gators, who went 10-4 last season and lost the Citrus Bowl, have been successful at the point of attack. Last season, they ranked second in the SEC in sacks with 40.