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Houston developed into an effective shutdown cornerback during his junior year. Having moved back to field cornerback in 2006 after playing the boundary position the previous season, Houston was usually lined up against the opponent's top receiver. By the end of the year, his successes outweighed his failures and he decided to leave the Razorbacks with a year of eligibility remaining.
Houston was a standout cornerback at Lyndon B. Johnson High School, where he also competed as a running back. Rivals.com ranked him as the nation's No. 32 cornerback, the No. 89 player overall in the Midlands Top 100 and the No. 66 player in the Texas Top 100. TheInsiders.com ranked him as the No. 68 cornerback in the nation, the No. 79 prospect in the state of Texas and the No. 111 cornerback in the nation.
As a senior, Houston rushed for 426 yards and six touchdowns before moving exclusively to cornerback. He was Lonestar Recruiting's No. 69 player in Texas and listed in Dave Campbell's Texas Football Top 300 while adding Prep Star All-Region IV accolades. In addition to lettering in football, Houston was a shooting guard on the basketball team.
In 2003 Houston enrolled at Arkansas, choosing the school over Louisiana State, Houston, Oklahoma, Georgia Tech, Arizona and Kansas State. He redshirted in 2003 and played in eight games during 2004, taking over field cornerback duties in the team's final four contests. He finished his rookie season with 21 tackles (16 solos) and 2.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, but missed the Alabama, Florida and Auburn games with an ankle sprain.
Houston took over boundary cornerback duties for the final nine games of the 2005 season and also served as the team's gunner on the special team coverage units, moving into the lineup when Darius Vinnett was lost for the year due to an injury. He came up with 20 tackles (15 solos), eight pass deflections and a forced fumble. Thanks in large part to his efforts as a gunner, Arkansas finished seventh in the nation in net punting.
Houston was again on the move in 2006, shifting back to field cornerback. He earned All-American honorable mention and All-Southeastern Conference second-team honors and was also a key component of Arkansas' outstanding special teams units. He registered a career-high 45 tackles (38 solos) with two forced fumbles. Considering that he generally covered the opponents' best receiver, he was challenged often. He allowed five touchdown receptions, but intercepted three passes and deflected 13 others. He even got to experience life on offense, catching a pass for 12 yards in the waning moments of the SEC title game against Florida.
In 33 games at Arkansas, Houston started 27 times. He recorded 86 tackles (69 solos) with five stops for losses of eight yards. He caused three fumbles, had a 12-yard reception and returned one punt for a one-yard gain. He also batted down 22 passes and intercepted three others for 129 yards in returns.
Positives: Has a lean, muscular frame with slender hips, long arms and legs, split high and good definition in his arms and calves...Smooth, fluid mover with loose hips, quick foot speed, good hand/eye coordination and the second gear to close on the ball in a hurry...Shows smooth hip turn in transition and times his leaps well to compete for the ball at its high point...Comes out of his breaks cleanly and shows the functional strength to get off some blocks to make the tackle in the open area...Loves challenges and seems to play his best vs. top competition...Plays with nice effort and toughness and is a self-starter who doesn't need structure to work on the extras needed to improve...Hard worker in the weight room, evident by his 450-pound bench press...Can locate receivers when handling the switch-off in zone coverage...When he stays disciplined, he sticks to receivers well on double moves and has the hand strength to reroute and press...Can latch and trail, showing the ability to cover the receiver when he doesn't come out of his pedal too early...Plays better when he executes the press than when playing off coverage...Plays the ball well in front of him, but needs to do a better job of anticipating in attempts to jump the play...Plants and drives well to break up slants and is good at jumping for the ball in flight, timing his leaps with good body control...Is effective pursuing across the field...Good at avoiding blockers on the move and is active using his hands to shed...Moves forward with good urgency and is effective at reaching around the receiver to knock the ball away...Physical tackler in pass coverage (marginal vs. the run), as he can fit in the open and shows good hand strength to wrap and control...Has the ability to come off the block and make the play in the open field.
Negatives: Locks on and runs with the receiver quite a bit, not showing the quick read-and-react skills you want in a cornerback (guesses and gambles often and the result is a high amount of pass interference penalties -- eight in 2006...Has loose hips to turn fluidly, but tends to open them too early, causing him to struggle mirroring the receiver when he gets behind the action (fails to generate his burst to recover)...Can cover tight in the short area, but struggles to feel and anticipate routes on deep throws...Shows good hip flexibility, but when he shuffles his feet he is late coming out of his breaks...Has good balance in his backpedal, but will sometimes get too tall in his stride, looking uncomfortable coming out of his breaks...Despite his weight room strength, he prefers to cover vs. the pass rather than support the run (will not stick his hat into the pile)...Will get lazy with his eyes and take some chances, resulting in blown coverages when playing in the deep zone... Has a good second gear, but doesn't use it consistently, as he struggles to recover when beaten...Lacks natural hands, as he tends to cradle the ball on his body and must learn how to extend his arms to make the catch (had four potential interceptions that resulted in pass deflections when he dropped the ball in 2006 and seems to trap the ball too much rather than fielding it cleanly)...When taking on ball carriers or working at the line, he will revert to putting his head down before making contact, losing sight of the ball.
Compares To: AHMAD CARROLL-Jacksonville...You have to wonder if history is repeating itself here. Both are excellent athletes with good speed and great strength, yet their power is negated by their reluctance to lend support vs. the run. Houston has good leaping ability and timing, but his poor hands have seen several potential interceptions turn into pass deflections. Like Carroll, Houston sometimes looks lost in play recognition, resulting in seven pass interference calls in 2006. They talk about Houston holding Tennessee's Robert Meachem to only two catches, but one was good for a touchdown. Ball concentration problems were evident when he failed to secure the ball properly and fumbled an interception in the Mississippi State game. Yes, he did hold USC's Dwayne Jarrett to 35 yards on five catches, but the Trojans were breaking in a new quarterback at the time. Is the real Chris Houston the one getting constantly turned around by Sidney Rice and crew in the South Carolina game (10 passes caught vs. Houston)? Time will tell, but after Green Bay's fiasco with Carroll, "buyer beware" when looking at a similar cornerback.
Houston gained 129 yards on two interception returns and had another for 15 yards called back by an Arkansas penalty in the 2006 Mississippi State game...His 129 yards set a school single-game record, topping the old mark of 99 yards by Orlando Watters against Louisiana State in 1993...Houston's 87-yard interception return for a touchdown in the 2006 Mississippi State game was the ninth-longest return in school history and the longest since Jermaine Petty returned an interception 88 yards against Auburn in 2001.
Pro Football Weekly All-American honorable mention...All-Southeastern Conference second-team selection by the league's coaches and Associated Press...Named SEC Player of the Week vs. Mississippi State...Started all fourteen games at left cornerback...Made a career-high 45 tackles (38 solos) with 1.5 stops for losses of 4 yards...Caused two fumbles and deflected 13 passes...Intercepted three balls for 129 yards in returns (43.0 avg) and one touchdown...Also caught a 12-yard pass...Recorded five tackles on the punt coverage unit...Made 47 plays vs. the pass and 11 vs. the run...Totaled 16 third-down tackles and had three stops inside the red zone...Was penalized eight times for pass interference and fumbled once on an interception return, but recovered the ball...Saw his main pass coverage assignments produce six touchdowns and average 14.16 per pass completion.
Played in eleven games, starting the final nine contests at right cornerback when Darius Vinnett was lost for the season due to knee problems...Recorded 20 tackles (15 solos) with a stop for a 2-yard loss...Caused one fumble and deflected eight passes...Added four tackles on the punt coverage unit, helping the team rank seventh in the nation in net punting.
Appeared in eight games, earning a start in the final four contests (South Carolina, Mississippi, Mississippi State and Louisiana State) at field cornerback...Did not play vs. Alabama or Florida while nursing a sprained ankle...He was available, but did not play vs. Auburn....Finished with 21 tackles (16 solos) and 2.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage... Deflected a pass and made four tackles on the punt coverage unit...Also blocked a punt that he recovered for a touchdown.
Spent his redshirt freshman season working on the UA scout team defense.
2004: Sat out the Florida, Alabama and Auburn games with an ankle sprain.
Campus: 4.49 in the 40-yard dash...525-pound squat...321-pound power clean...35-inch vertical jump...4.03 20-yard shuttle...32-inch arm length...9-inch hands.
Combine:4.32 in the 30-yard dash...36-inch vertical jump...10'2" broad jump...4.12 20-yard shuttle...Bench pressed 225 pounds 27 times...Chose not to run 60-yard shuttle.
Attended Lyndon B. Johnson (Austin, Tex.) High School, competing as a running back and cornerback...Rivals.com ranked him as the nation's No. 32 cornerback, the No. 89 player overall in the Midlands Top 100 and the No. 66 player in the Texas Top 100...Was Lonestar Recruiting's No. 69 player in Texas and listed in Dave Campbell's Texas Football Top 300 while adding Prep Star All-Region IV accolades...TheInsiders.com ranked him as the No. 68 cornerback in the nation, the No. 79 prospect in the state of Texas and the No. 111 cornerback in the nation...As a senior, Houston rushed for 426 yards and six touchdowns before moving exclusively to cornerback...Competed as a shooting guard on the school's basketball team.
Enrolled in the College of Education and Health Professions and is majoring in Recreation with an emphasis on Community Sports...Member of the 2004-05 Lon Farrell Academic Honor Roll...Son of Barbara and Larry Houston...Born 10/18/84...Resides in Austin, Texas.
Draft Scout Player News
12/26/13 - --CB Chris Houston (toe) did not practice Thursday after being limited on Wednesday.
12/18/13 - CB Chris Houston (toe) returned to practice.
12/13/13 - --CB Chris Houston, who has been hampered by a foot injury, missed practice Thursday with a sore toe.
12/09/13 - CB Chris Houston intercepted Eagles quarterback Nick Foles in the second quarter. It was the first interception Foles had thrown this season in 236 passes. It was only the second interception all season by a Lions corner – both by Houston.
12/04/13 - CB Chris Houston (foot) practiced Tuesday and Wednesday and is on track to play Sunday.