Earlier this week, I wrote about the plight of University of Georgia football player Kolton Houston, whom the NCAA declared ineligible for play for three years because of a steroid that a doctor injected into his body when he was in high school.
On Thursday, Houston received the news he has been awaiting since 2010: he can play between the hedges for the Bulldogs this fall.
Kolton Houston’s three-year struggle to regain NCAA eligibility is finally over.
The Georgia offensive lineman passed his most recent NCAA drug screening, allowing him to join the Bulldogs’ active roster for the first time in his college career.
He learned of his reinstatement in a call from UGA director of sports medicine Ron Courson on Thursday.
“I took the test last Thursday,” Houston told ESPN’s DawgNation. “I was moving out of my house when Ron called me with the news. I was stunned. I didn’t know what to think. All the past years’ emotions hit me at once.”
The icing on the cake (literally)? Thursday was Houston’s birthday.
“This is the best birthday present I’ve ever had,” Houston said about his reinstatement. “I had almost reached the point where I thought this situation would never end. When I got the call, I broke down and cried for about 30 minutes. I had that much emotion stored up and it felt good to get it out. I’m ready now to show what I can do.”
Houston has two years of eligibility left, and he can appeal to the NCAA for a third year. He did not work out with the team this spring, so the question is whether he will be in shape to start for the Dawgs.
He likely will have some rust to shake off. Houston completed last year’s spring practice as the Bulldogs’ starting right tackle, but did not participate in every practice last fall or this spring as his eligibility case failed to progress.
“I stopped practicing in December, so technically I’ve only missed one spring, but I have stayed in shape the whole time,’ Houston told DawgNation. “I started working out with the team in the beginning of June, so I will be physically ready to go. It will be a lot of work, but I am ready to finally practice with a purpose and pursue my dream of wearing the red and black.”
Needless to say, his teammates and coaches are ecstatic.
“The big thing is that we’re just really happy for Kolton,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said in a release. “We’re thankful for all the work [Georgia Senior Associate Athletic Director for Sports Medicine] Ron Courson put in and for those who kept believing, but mostly we’re happy for him. We don’t want to put any pressure on him like now he’s got to be a star. The bottom line is, we’re happy he’ll be able to participate for Georgia. We’re glad it all worked out.”
Congratulations to Kolton Houston and the rest of the team. Here’s hoping for big things for him this fall.