Better Know a Buckeye: Eddrick Houston’s Size, Speed and Versatility Give Him the Potential to Impose His Will As a Defensive End

By Josh Poloha on March 21, 2024 at 10:10 am
Eddrick Houston

Better Know A Buckeye is our look at every member of Ohio State’s 2024 recruiting class and how they became Buckeyes as they prepare to begin their OSU careers this fall.

After failing to secure commitments from three five-star defensive end targets in 2023, Larry Johnson wasn't going to let that streak continue into 2024.

While Eddrick Houston was one of just three signings along the defensive line for the Buckeyes in the class, he was certainly an impactful one. When Ohio State takes the field this fall, it will have three of the nine highest-rated defensive linemen it has signed in the modern recruiting era with J.T. Tuimoloau, Jack Sawyer and Houston all in the Buckeyes’ defensive end corps. The latter, who was the No. 7 defensive lineman (No. 26 overall) in the 2024 class, brings plenty of versatility as an elite pass rusher to Ohio State's defensive line.

Eddrick Houston

  • Size: 6-3/270
  • Pos: DE
  • School: Buford (Buford, Georgia)
  • Star Rating: ★★★★★
  • Composite Rank: #26 (#7 DL)

How He Became a Buckeye

When Ohio State offered Houston on Jan. 20, 2022, he was ranked as the No. 90 player in his class. By the time he officially signed with the Buckeyes, the Georgia native rose to the 26th-best player in the class.

Houston was immediately interested in the Buckeyes because of the success Chase Young had at Ohio State.

“I was shocked that my film was able to get me that type of offer,” Houston told Eleven Warriors after receiving that offer. “It just shows that my hard work is paying off … I’ve been looking at Ohio State since Chase Young was there. I did some research when I was younger about the kids that developed at Ohio State and went to the NFL. They’re still doing what they were doing in college in the league, and that really caught my eye.

“I love the way Larry Johnson coaches and the way he develops kids.”

How OSU used its defensive ends caught his eye when he visited for the Buckeyes’ 2022 game against Notre Dame.

“It was great just to see the energy and how electric it is when the Buckeyes play,” Houston said after the visit. “I saw great things from the different types of schemes they run and how they try to utilize their players up front. (I liked) how they can have stand-up guys and four-point guys and still be able to rush the quarterback.”

After taking visits to Clemson and Alabama just before signing day, which included plenty of incentives for one of the top defensive ends in the class to flip, Houston signed with the Buckeyes, shocking some national insiders by keeping his commitment to Ohio State.

“It was definitely hard,” Houston told Eleven Warriors earlier this month. “Just thinking about all the stuff that could have went wrong. But at the same time, the last 24 hours, I had to cut off my phone. Because I was receiving so many calls. But when I got to signing day, I knew in my heart where I wanted to go. And I stuck with it.”

High School Years

Houston's junior year was his best in high school. He finished with 64 tackles, 10 sacks (11 tackles for loss) and 15 quarterback hurries. He lined up at both tight end and defensive end during his first full season on the varsity team.

As a senior, he totaled 45 tackles, 10 quarterback hits, five sacks (12 tackles for loss) and five forced fumbles. He also blocked two field goals while leading Buford to an 11-2 record and a trip to the quarterfinals of Georgia's 7A playoffs. While his numbers fell a bit during his final high school season, some of that was due to the attention Houston received from opponents.

During his time at Buford, Houston used his 6-foot-3, 270-pound frame to find mismatches across the defensive line. He used his speed and athleticism to beat opposing offensive tackles around the edge and strength and power to bulldoze opposing interior offensive linemen when called upon. When he didn't get to the quarterback, Houston used his length to disrupt passes at the line of scrimmage.

He continued that dominance at All-American Bowl practices.

Along with playing football, the multi-sport athlete also competed in track and field events and wrestling during his time at Buford, even anchoring the track team's 4x400-meter relay at one point.

Immediate Impact

Better Know A Buckeye

While he used his versatility across the defensive line in high school, Houston is expected to be a defensive end at Ohio State. With Sawyer and Tuimoloau returning as the starters and Caden Curry and Kenyatta Jackson Jr. filling out the two-deep, Houston's first season in Columbus will likely be a developmental season, even if he has the talent to contribute right away.

“I think my size and quickness might be the main thing to help me at defensive end,” Houston said. “But at the same time, I’m working on a lot of stuff that I didn’t see in high school, but now I see it up here.”

While the five-star prospect was one of the top prospects in his class, he also realizes that the level of football at Ohio State is much different than what he faced in high school and will take some getting used to.

“Right now they’ve told me to trust the process,” Houston said of the advice he’s received from older players. “Because I’ve messed up a lot of stuff because I’ve never done it. So they just say trust the process. Because they all went through it at first, too. So now it’s just about listening to coach Johnson and everything he’s telling me on how to get better.”

While Johnson has been known to give immediately playing time to his top prospects at defensive end – the Bosa brothers, Chase Young, Zach Harrison, Sawyer and Tuimoloau – as freshmen, Houston could have a tougher time given the talent that’s still in Columbus for the 2024 season.

Long-Term Impact

Houston will have a legitimate opportunity to compete for a starting job as a sophomore. While he will have to compete with Curry and Jackson, among others, the Buckeyes will be looking for new stars to emerge on the edge following the departures of Sawyer and Tuimoloau, and Houston is capable of being a wrecking ball on the edge.

He already has a college-ready skill set physically and could be the next in a long line of stars on Ohio State’s defensive line as he develops that skill set over the next three to four years.

Player Comparison: Zach Harrison

Although Harrison is two inches taller than Houston, the latter arrives at Ohio State with a similar five-star pedigree to Harrison and a similar combination of size and speed that gives him the potential to play all over the line and be a difference-maker from multiple spots.

Harrison never quite became the star he was expected to be, totaling just 11 sacks and 24 tackles for loss during his four-year career, but he was still a difference-maker for Ohio State’s defensive line as both a pass rusher and run stopper for four years, even if it didn‘t always show in the box score. Houston has the upside to surpass Harrison’s achievements in Columbus, but becoming the quality three-down player that Harrison was in Columbus would be a good start.

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