ATHENS, Ga. -- During the run-up to the Liberty Bowl, Justin Houston claimed he hadn’t even begun to think about his upcoming decision on whether to go pro.
“It’s crazy. I keep putting it off,” Houston said at the time.
As it turns out, the Georgia linebacker has put it off all the way to the deadline.
Today is the last day that underclassmen can declare for the NFL draft, and Houston has still yet to make his intentions known.
Every other Bulldog junior known to be mulling the jump has decided: Wide receiver A.J. Green is the only one to decide to leave, while guard Cordy Glenn, cornerback-kick returner Brandon Boykin and tackle Trinton Sturdivant announced they will stay.
Steve Pennington, who was Justin Houston’s head coach at Statesboro (Ga.) High School, said Houston hasn’t returned his calls or texts. Houston’s brother is also in one of Pennington’s classes.
“And even he doesn’t even know. Seriously,” Pennington said. “It’s either weighing on him very heavily, or he might not know yet. I don’t know. But I’m real surprised that it’s been this quiet. Maybe he’s just real torn.”
Houston finished the regular season as the SEC sacks leader, then was passed in the postseason by Auburn’s Nick Fairley. Houston has been expected to make the jump, but Georgia coaches were trying hard to convince him that returning for his senior year would elevate his draft stock.
NFL draft analyst Mike Detellier, who is based out of Louisiana, believes Houston could end up a late first-round pick.
“He’s coming off a really big season,” Detellier said, “I mean a big-time season for him, where he was very productive, and, with so many teams running that 3-4 or variances of it, you can understand what he would bring to the table.”
Note: Former player Thomas Brown has returned to Georgia as a full-time assistant to new strength and conditioning coordinator Joe Tereshinski, UGA confirmed Friday. John Kasay Sr. is also on board as a part-time employee. Clay Walker, who had been an assistant, will be “phasing out” of the strength program, to use UGA’s wording, as he finishes his doctorate.