Number of Scholarship Players added: 1 (Bart Houston – rated four stars and No.7 QB overall)
Number of Scholarship Players lost: 1 (Russell Wilson)
Recruiting Story: As a 2009 sophomore at Concord (Calif.) De La Salle, Houston was 11-0 as the varsity starter, leading the Spartans to their 18th straight CIF-NCS title and the CIF State Open Division title. He threw for 1,257 yards with 10 touchdown passes, only two interceptions and had a 63 percent completion percentage. He was only getting started.
When he closed his prep career, Houston was a three-time California Open Division state champion, outscoring teams 439-57 on its 11-game win streak to end the season, a member of the coveted Elite 11 quarterbacks and a high school All-American competing as the starting quarterback in the U.S. Marines’ Semper Fi All-American game.
His recruitment, surprisingly, never got that big. One week after picking up his first offer from Colorado came an offer from Wisconsin that set the bar for him. Arizona, Iowa, San Diego State, UCLA and Washington all offered him, but Houston had a bond immediately with former offensive coordinator Paul Chryst and the UW offense.
Houston took an unofficial visit out to Wisconsin in early April, and toured the chemical engineering department, met the staff and players, watched them scrimmage and had dinner with former UW quarterback Scott Tolzien.
“It was real high tempo,” Houston told Badger Nation at the time. “I liked how they practiced and how they lifted. Everything is high tempo, and I really like that. Coach Bielema talked to me about why coming to Wisconsin was such a good thing for me. He really wanted to emphasis that there were a lot of good people at Wisconsin. There are a lot of good people there, including Tolzien.”
Houston visited Cal, Colorado, Duke, Iowa, Oregon State, Texas Tech, USC, UCLA and Washington, but never found as good of a fit as he did at Wisconsin. After returning home from Colorado and Iowa on May 2, Houston, despite originally wanting to commit over the summer, called Chryst and committed to UW.
"It's a program that is team first and individual second,” said Houston, breaking the news to Fox Sports’ Brandon Huffman. “That's how it is at De La Salle and that's what I saw at Wisconsin. That was their philosophy, the way they held themselves, the way they talked about the season. I looked at the academics and the pro-style offense and I really liked that."
Houston finished his senior season completing 99-of-171 passes (57.9 percent) for 1,999 yards, 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. More importantly, he was adamant that he was coming to Wisconsin despite Chryst leaving for Pittsburgh.
Huffman’s Scouting Report: Houston has that "it-factor" that college coaches want in their quarterback, all the intangibles, the pocket poise and leadership as well as the mental toughness. He has a rifle on him and gets rid of the ball as quick as anyone. He does drop his arm a little too much at the point of release and needs to work on that. Houston has great mobility and won't hesitate to drop his shoulder on you. The best thing he has going for him is he's just a winner. He was 38-1 as a starter in high school, won three state championships in the highest level of football in California and just knows how to manage a game. His best football is still ahead of him, especially as a passer, since his team ran the veer. He also didn't put up eye-popping numbers, primarily because he rarely played into the second half because of blowouts. He could come in and play early, and he generally plays mistake-free football each week.
Who did the Badgers miss out on: After the Badgers got burned by the Jacoby Brissett fiasco (only offering him to show him how much they wanted him and having their hands time when he committed to Florida), the Badgers extended numerous QB offers early: five-star Gunner Kiel (Notre Dame), four-star Zeke Pike (Auburn), three-star Wes Lunt (Oklahoma State) and two-star Gunnar Holcombe (Marshall) to name a few. Out of all of them, Lunt looked like the most likely to commit, but the Badgers told him they would only be taking one quarterback and pulled his scholarship after Houston committed.
How the position could change: If the Badgers can convince Kiel to drop out of classes in South Bend and take a walk-on opportunity in Madison. Other than that, don’t expect any more scholarship QBs on the roster.
Bart Houston Senior Highlights
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