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Sumner Houston is no stranger to big-time Division I recruitment. The Concord (Calif.) De La Salle defensive lineman is the younger brother of Wisconsin redshirt freshman quarterback Bart Houston, and a former teammate of current California redshirt freshman linebacker Michael Barton. On Saturday, at the Bears' Elite Junior Day, he got to re-connect with Barton, as he toured the Berkeley campus and took in Cal's basketball game against Colorado.
"We got to tour the dorms, and the dorm room that they showed us was actually Mike B's room, so I got to see him and say, ‘Hi,' and everything," Houston said. "I loved it. It was a very nice tour. I loved all the facilities. The new stadium is very nice. I remember it from back when I went there, before freshman year, right when they were starting construction, and now, it's almost completely different. It's really cool."
Though Houston's recruitment is in its nascent stages, he's already a veteran of the recruiting trail thanks to the Spartans' long line of top-flight recruits and watching his brother go through the process.
"What I learned from Bart is that you've just got to be proactive," Houston said. "You've got to put your name out there and you've just got to keep working at it. The main thing is to have fun, and in the end, it'll all fall into place. Just have fun and do what you like to do, and that's play football."
Last season, Houston tallied 51 tackles, including 9.0 tackles for loss, to go along with 7.0 sacks and two pass deflections. Houston was the leading tackler on a defensive line that included Stanford signee Austin Hooper.
The fact that the Bears are moving from a 3-4 to a 4-3 alignment is a plus for the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Houston, who prefers being able to play on the inside.
"That helped me, because in a four-man front, they have two middle guys, and now that they're doing that, I have the ability to play in the middle, because I'm not big enough to be a nose guard," Houston said. "I could play in the middle, I could play outside, I can play wherever on that line, pretty much, now."
Houston enjoyed the non-football portions of the trip almost as much as the football-centric activities, particularly the academic portion of the visit.
"Probably, one of the most interesting things was either the stadium, or their stats and all their academics and that they're No. 3 in the country in business, they're No. 1 in chemistry, so I thought that was pretty interesting, because I want to go into civil engineering or some type of engineering, so I was pretty interested by that," Houston said.
Of course, the big crowd-pleaser sitting in the Valley Life Sciences building was also a big hit.
"They have this big tyrannosaurus rex skeleton that they had on display that's the most complete full set in the country. I got a picture with it. I liked that. That was pretty interesting to me," Houston said.
Houston also got the chance to sit down and get to know the new coaching staff.
"I believe they're all new, so I liked that it was a pretty energetic group. A lot of them are young, and coach Dykes was very, very nice. I talked to him for a little while, and I liked it a lot," Houston said. "I'm almost definitely sure that they're interested in me. They haven't offered me, but at the moment, they're just waiting to see how I look coming into the season next year, and then they told me that I'm pretty much on their radar right now."
Houston has been focused on his upcoming SATs, but after that's over with, he plans on taking visits in April. He will also "most likely," come to one of Cal's camps in the summer.
"If they need me to come out and show them what I can do, I'll probably be out there," he said.