USC football linebacker John Houston landed with the Pittsburgh Steelers after going undrafted.
John Houston, the first of USC football’s undrafted players for 2020, has found his new home.
The linebacker and Trojan team captain will sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent, according to his Twitter account.
“Undrafted free agent. The opportunity I need is here and for the taking. Built for it and nothing will stop me from getting. Thankful for the opportunity @steelers #BelieveinGodPlan,” Houston tweeted on Saturday when the draft concluded.
Houston was dealt a tough hand when it came to his draft hopes. Due to cancelations from the coronavirus pandemic, he was unable to workout in front of pro scouts at USC’s Pro Day. Without the opportunity to impress, his chances of being drafted were considered low.
Now that he has a place in the pros, Houston will look to follow in the footsteps of fellow Trojans who were able to carve out roles on NFL teams after going undrafted.
In Pittsburgh, he’ll have some familiar company to encourage him. The Steelers include Trojans like JuJu Smith-Schuster and Zach Banner on the roster.
Houston was a bit of a late bloomer at USC.
He redshirted in 2015 while recovering from a back injury and eased into action in 2016 with a backup and special teams role.
Ahead of the 2017 season he won a starting job at inside linebacker and started 12 times. He had 84 tackles, ranking fourth on the team while getting his bearings in the defense.
He held a more prominent role in 2018, finishing second behind Cameron Smith in tackles with 67.
The departure of Smith left Houston as the veteran leader on the defense in 2019. He led the team with 104 tackles while adding seven tackles for loss. His best season in cardinal and gold earned him a place on Phil Steele’s All-Pac-12 third team.