Colorado Springs, Colo. Doherty High School
NR: 12 (at DT) SR: N/A Star Rating: ****
An Inside Texas conversation with Doherty head coach Mike Sirko on Lamarr Houston Jr.:
IT: What are Lamarr’s best strengths as a football player?
Sirko: He’s really an athletic kid. He’s got really good athletic ability. He’s agile. He’s got really good instincts. He did a nice job on either side of the football. He was quite effective for us.
IT: What did the Texas coaches tell you they like the most about Lamarr?
Sirko: I think mainly he’s pretty versatile. They talked about different places in playing him. They talked about defense as a linebacker and maybe a little running back. The point is just he’s a versatile kid. I think they also liked him as a young man. He’s a quality human being. Not only he is a great football player, he’s a quality human being.
IT: In what areas does Lamarr need to improve to play in college?
Sirko: Like anything else, he needs to work on the strength part of it. He’s a physical kid, but you’ve got to remember he’s a three-sport kid. A lot of times, those kids don’t get what they need in the weight room, because they’re always busy. Once he’s only doing football, he can really build on his strength. He’s got the frame and everything else. He just needs to get in the weight room and really work on that.
IT: Is already focusing on working in the weight room?
Sirko: Yeah. He already knows right after basketball season, he needs to spend more time in the weight room. The thing that’s tough with basketball is they have those early and late practices and it’s hard to get in the weight room. The beauty of doing track being involved in that he’s going to have an opportunity to work in the weight room. Plus, he’s planning on leaving as soon as he graduates. He’s obviously been invited to play in the all-state game and he’s not going to do that. He’s going to Austin.
IT: What positions did Lamarr play for you?
Sirko: He was my tailback in the I-formation. He played inside linebacker. He was all-Colorado both ways, because he rushed for over 1,800 yards and 30 touchdowns. He led our team in tackles with 115 also. He was just a solid defensive player. When you’re playing as our inside linebacker like that plus you’re a tailback, you’re not leaving the field very much. I’m sorry, you’ve got to be a stallion to do that, especially when you’re carrying the ball 30 times a game.
IT: How would you describe Lamarr’s demeanor?
Sirko: The beauty of him is he’s very humble. He’s really excited to be there to just try and be the best he can be. He’s very excited. I think deep down inside he’s always wanted to be a Texas Longhorn. When he was a young boy, he talked about them. Come on, with the name Lamarr Houston he had to go to Texas.
IT: What position did the Texas coaches tell you he would play in college?
Sirko: I think mainly as a defensive end. I think that’s kind of where they’re going to look at playing him. They had talked maybe in a goal line situation as a fullback or something in short yardage, but it sounds like a defensive end as to where they’re talking about playing him.
IT: How do you see Lamarr projecting as defensive end in college?
Sirko: Very good. I think he’s very explosive and quick. I think the sky’s the limit for him. I think he’s still raw, but he’s athletic and can play different places. As I was told, he looks like a Texas kid. He’ll go in there and play some ball.
IT: What are his current measurables?
Sirko: He’s 6-foot-4, close to 260 pounds. He ran about a 4.7, a 4.75 somewhere in there. He’s put together real well. He’s a very naturally gifted kid and he’s a good worker and this and that. I’ll tell you when you’re involved in as much as he is, I just think the sky’s the limit if he gets in there in a college weight program like Texas will have for him.
IT: Lamarr was a Parade All-American selection. What other awards and honors did he receive?
Sirko: He made All-Colorado both ways. He was the Gatorade player of the year in our state and the Red Zone player of the year. He got about everything you can get.
IT: Is Lamarr a leader and if so, how does he lead?
Sirko: He’s a hell of a leader. He’s a very unselfish young man. He’s got a way about it. He gets kids to stand at attention pretty much, because of the fact that they believe in him and what he says. He’s just such a fine young man. We can’t do this in Colorado, but he’s led our team in prayer after a game with another team. There’s just stuff that he does that is pretty uncanny. We had a few kids come from New Orleans after that Hurricane Katrina. We had a guy from a sporting goods place come in and he was going to get some stuff for these kids. We had quite a few kids. I don’t know how the hell he found out, but this guy said Lamarr came up to him and was at the door of the high school. He went over and helped the guy bring in the stuff and just thanked him for giving the stuff to these New Orleans kids. This guy even said to this day, "I couldn’t believe that was a high school kid the way he talked to me, the appreciation he showed and just the respect he showed." He’s a Lamarr Houston lover, because of that. He’s just an all-around great leader. It’s hard to find kids like him to step forward. He’s just naturally gifted at it. That’s my point. To step forward and say what he feels and not feel uncomfortable about saying some of the tough things you have to say is what you have to do if you’re going to be a leader.
IT: How big of an impact did Lamarr have on your football program?
Sirko: He made a major, major impact. We’re talking about a program that really didn’t have much there. Of course, I had him and a kid named Shaun DeWitty who is at Arizona State. Those two were in the backfield. Of course, Lamarr played defense for us all three years. Lamarr has been a warrior since his sophomore year for us. He’s been an incredible impact player. I’ve been coaching for 30 years and have had a couple of guys in the NFL and a lot of Division One kids, but as a high school player I think Lamarr is the best football player I’ve coached probably in 30 years. What I’m saying is I’ve been doing this a while and when it comes down to it and I see a kid like him and I go, "Wow." This kid’s go it all I think. He’s got what it takes.
IT: Is there a moment you can recall that exemplifies his ability as a football player?
Sirko: What’s he got more than anything else is a great will. He’s got a will to win and a will to be successful. I think that’s probably the thing that I was most impressed with. Lamarr has pretty much carried us and has been one of those guys when we win, he’s as excited as anybody and when we lose, I know he hurts more than anybody.
IT: What events does Lamarr participate in track and field?
Sirko: Shot put and discus. He placed last year in the discuss. He didn’t even really have a coach. He just kind of went out there and threw it. He’s going to have a coach this year so watch out. He could up winning both things. He’s running the hurdles too by the way, which is pretty impressive to watch him get over those hurdles. One of the reasons he did it too was for football. He really wanted to work at it. He’s not one of those plodders. He picks his knees up and goes. That’s the kind of kid he is. He’s one of those kids that wants to try and better himself at whatever he can.
IT: What position does Lamarr play on the basketball team?
Sirko: He’s playing on a team that’s probably going to go to the state playoffs. He’s been a starter for them there. He’s a forward for them. He’s averaging probably 10 points and probably 8, 9 rebounds. He’s just a good solid player for them.
IT: Did you know Lamarr would end up at Texas?
Sirko: We had talked and it was to the point where he had so many offers that I sat down with him and I said, "Come on, we’ve talked about this." I knew he was always leaning towards Texas, but it was just like I think he felt like he wanted to entertain everybody, because he’s such a nice kid. He felt bad telling people no. Coach Bobby Kennedy did a nice job with him. Lamarr had talked to coach Kennedy, who told him scholarships were filling up. That’s when I knew he wanted to go there, because he said, "They’re filling up coach." I said, "Well of course they are, they’re Texas. Hell, they’re going to fill up and get all their Texas kids. They all want to go there and they’re going to give anything they can to go." He said, "Well, I think want to too." I said, "Well then, let’s get this thing going." With coach Kennedy, I think it was one of those things where it just worked for him. I think he was just waiting for a little bit of a push, a little bit of a prod or whatever. It wasn’t like he was being forced or anything like that. I think that’s where he wanted to go from the get-go.
UT's Signing Day bio: Prep All-American and two-time all-state selection who starred at running back and linebacker … earned Parade All-America honors as a linebacker … also tabbed second-team All-American by EA Sports … finished his career with 3,325 yards rushing and 49 TDs to go along with 239 tackles and 13 sacks in three seasons … posted over 100 tackles in his final two prep seasons … averaged 8.1 yards per carry (411 carries) for his career … named the Rocky Mountain News Colorado Defensive Player of the Year as a senior … also earned Gatorade's Player of the Year for Colorado… rushed for 1,770 yards and 28 TDs on 230 carries (7.7 ypc) … also made 101 tackles, including 19 TFL and eight sacks, one interception and three fumble recoveries … rushed for 339 yards and four TDs on 33 carries in a win over Gateway in 2005 … named first-team all-state as a junior … one of only three juniors to be named to the all-state team … also made first team all-conference as a linebacker and fullback … rushed for 779 yards and 11 TDs on 70 carries (11.1 ypc) and tallied 100 tackles, two sacks and three fumble recoveries … earned first team all-conference, second-team all-area and first-team all-city honors as a sophomore while playing fullback and defensive end … carried 111 times for 776 yards (7.0 ypc) and 10 TDs to go along with 38 tackles and three sacks that year … played fullback and middle linebacker as a freshman … also competed in basketball and track and field … a three-year letterman as a power forward in basketball … competed in the dicus, shot put and 100-meter hurdles in track and field … placed first in the city and sixth in the state in the discus as a senior with a throw of 163-0 … participated in activities for Mothers Against Drunk Driving … spoke during a program called Smart Girls in 2005 that builds self-esteem in young girls … enjoys playing the piano and drums … cousin, Stan Gill, played tailback at Stanford in 1985 … full name is Frederick Lamarr Houston … born on June 24, 2987 in San Francisco … moved to San Francisco at age 5 … also lived in Sacramento until age 10.
"Texas was always a dream school for me and I've always known that I wanted to go there. They have great players, a great atmosphere and there's a great relationship there between everyone in the program. There's a great tradition there and it's a great place for me."
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