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Wednesday, July 23, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 64.0° F  Fair
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SPORTS

Great expectations for Bart Houston

Will Bart Houston live up to his hype?
Will Bart Houston live up to his hype?
Credit:Bob Sansoe
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Remember Xavier Harris? News in 2006 that he had committed to play wide receiver at Wisconsin caused members of the Badgermaniac message board to dub him "Xavier the Savior." Some predicted the Fort Lauderdale native would start as a freshman and lead the Badgers to national prominence.

In two seasons of action for the Badgers, Harris caught eight passes for 73 yards and zero touchdowns. A Google search for his name yields the website lostlettermen.com, which asks, "If you know where Xavier Harris is now, please email us."

Harris was the first name I thought of when message boards like Badgermaniac exploded with activity early this week at the news that Bart Houston, a quarterback from Concord, Cal., had verbally committed to play at Wisconsin starting in the fall of 2012. "Wow!" gushed one eager fan. "Bin Laden dead and Wisconsin gets its quarterback all in one week."

Houston has some impressive credentials. He led De La Salle High School, consistently one of the nation's top programs, to consecutive California state titles in 2009 and 2010. He's ranked one of the top 10 quarterbacks in his class by various national recruiting services, falling just behind Auburn recruit Zeke Pike and Gunner Kiel in the name department.

It's hard to temper enthusiasm among fanatics, but another marquee recruit to remember is Carl McCullough, a high school all-American from St. Paul who rushed for a decent 1,038 yards in 1995 before Ron Dayne pushed him aside in 1996. McCullough has an entry of his own at lostlettermen.com.

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