August 5, 2007

Johnston stays home

The University of Houston received its tenth verbal commitment Sunday night, when Texas City defensive back Kris Johnston verbally pledged to coach Art Briles and the Cougars.

Johnston announced his college choice on KRIV, Houston's Fox television affiliate, to the Conference USA champions. He had an offer from Louisiana-Lafayette and was being recruited by Northwestern, Texas Tech and Arizona.

"A couple of things helped me make my decision," he said. "I think Houston is an up and coming program and I want to be a part of that. I want to help them win some Conference USA championships while I'm here.

"The other thing is that I'm 45 minutes from home," he said. "It was very important to me that my parents and grandparents could see all of my home games. That was big."

The 6-foot-1 safety was the Stingarees' leading tackler and an all-district selection as a junior. He was also a member of Texas City's 2006 state champion track team.

Briles has had luck in the Galveston and southeast Houston-area over the past two seasons. Last year, Joseph Florence and Michael Ray of LaMarque, Bo Mosley of Friendswood and Chris Thompson of Hitchock committed to Houston. Johnston and Friendswood defensive lineman Blake Sargent and Pearland cornerback Nick Saenz are 2008 commits from the local area.

"I love that I'll be very familiar with some of my new teammates," he said. "I grew up playing against Nick Saenz since Little League. Now I'll be in the same defensive backfield with him. And I can't wait to be playing with some of my old foes from La Marque.

The versatile Johnston combines size and speed, and projects as a hybrid defensive back.

"The coaches showed me a depth chart and they said I can play strong safety or a drop linebacker," he said. "Whatever they want me to play is fine with me."

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