When Hunter Houston came out for Pittbulls youth football in fourth grade, the coaches saw his size and naturally put the new kid from Alma at offensive line.
His future little league coach Johnny McKusker saw him throw at a Tyler Wilson camp, found interest and drafted him for another position.
“He went and talked to my dad and he’s like, ‘I want him to play on my team, I want him to play quarterback’ and so he drafted me,” Houston recalled. “I didn’t really talk much, so they just saw a big kid.
"So before talking to coach McKusker, they put me at the O-line and so he saw me there and he just said ‘What are you doing?’ and he called me back to throw with the quarterbacks.”
In an act of fate, Greenwood’s 2023 signal caller may never have become one of the best in Arkansas.
Tuesday he received his first offer from Southwest Baptist, although others have shown interest.
“He’s a guy that in my mind that can go play at the highest level,” Greenwood offensive coordinator Stephen Hogan said. “A lot of schools are interested. They’ve come by and they’ve seen him throw. I think the next step for him this summer is getting in front of those coaches.”
Growing up in Greenwood, Houston moved to Alma and primarily played receiver or at a fullback/tight end hybrid spot, before returning to his hometown as a fourth-grader.
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Hogan said his quarterback is what you want in terms of fitting the mold of what the position calls for, "a complete package.”
As a sophomore, Houston sat behind senior LD Richmond as the Bulldogs completed a 14-0 state championship season in Chris Young’s first year as coach. Houston said he had learned “probably more than I ever had football-wise” as a backup and won the competition to start on last season’s Arkansas 6A state runner-up.
As a junior, the All-6A West selection threw for 3,080 yards and 26 touchdowns, despite missing time to a midseason knee injury and suffering a head injury during the state finals’ second quarter. Houston’s toughness also showed when playing through a non-throwing shoulder injury sustained vs. Lake Hamilton, one he re-injured and was later diagnosed as a torn labrum.
In addition to toughness, Hogan says he has grown as a vocal leader and pulls aside other players, picking the brains of fellow quarterbacks on reads and providing advice to his backups and other teammates.
Houston says he watched video of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and is working on his mechanics like shortening his arm path rather than dropping his arm down toward his waist.
“He’s a three-sport (football, basketball, baseball) athlete, so he’s got some athleticism,"Hogan said. "His ability to throw the ball on different planes and can throw off-balance, he can change his arm slot, has plenty of arm strength to make all of the big-time throws that you need him to make. But at the same time, his intelligence that he has within the offense and schemes and things that we run … he really sees the big picture.”
You can follow Bryant Roche on Twitter @BRocheSports and you can email him at BRoche@gannett.com
This article originally appeared on Fort Smith Times Record: Hunter Houston 'complete package' as Greenwood AR football quarterback