Lamarr Houston: Colorado connection
When the announcement of the bowl pairings was made back in early December, many of the Longhorns and the Sun Devils most likely had to log on to the Internet to learn something about the opponent they would be playing three weeks later.
However, that was definitely not the case for three players. Texas DE Lamarr Houston and Arizona State RB Shaun DeWitty and DE Dexter Davis instantly knew what they would be facing. The feeling was especially sweet for Houston and DeWitty who attended Doherty High School in Colorado Springs together and now both wear the number 36.
The pair first met when DeWitty moved from St. Louis to Colorado. Once he got there, they had each heard about the other, but when they finally encountered each other, there was an immediate connection.
"The coach was talking about some big old fullback who was going to be blocking for me," smiled DeWitty. "I finally got to meet him, and since then, we've pretty much become best friends and still talk almost every day."
"We became like brothers," Houston followed. "We traveled together and have been to different places. We've been to St. Louis, Arizona, and I actually went with him on his visit to Arizona State. We hit it off and have been hanging out ever since like family."
It was a bond that was strengthened by their mutual team leadership as their high school careers progressed.
"I think our best memory together was that we just always found a way to win," Houston said. "We didn't have as many division one level athletes as a school in Texas might, so it was just me and him and we just did whatever we could do to get us a win. We always had the most fun and kept it calm out there between each other and made sure we were comfortable enough to be within our game."
Houston admits there was a time when he thought he would probably be attending Arizona State with his friend, but after a lot of careful thought, he decided his place was in Texas.
"I obviously wanted to play with him and it would have been great to be with him in college, but when it came down to it, me and my family were praying about where to go and what the best decision would be," Houston said. "God told me to come to Texas, and that ended up being best."
However, just because Houston became a Longhorn, it did not mean the duo would lose touch. In fact, their connection is how Houston then also became friends with Davis.
"I knew anyone who was friends with Shaun would have something in common with me," Houston said. "We're both defensive ends and I automatically clicked with him, too."
"We just hit it off," Davis said. "We had the defensive end thing in common, and we just got to know each other and we've become pretty good friends. He comes out to Phoenix every once in a while, so we get to hang out. I think we might try to get out to Texas to hang out with him a little bit."
So when the Holiday Bowl kicks off on Thursday night, there is no doubt there will be familiar glances to the opposite sideline.
"I'm going to know they're watching me, so I better be on point," Houston laughed. "I knew this would be a perfect time for me to show what I have."