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Georgia OL Houston gains eligibility after long battle

The SportsXchange

Three years after enrolling at Georgia, offensive lineman Kolton Houston is finally eligible to play college football.

Houston passed a recent NCAA drug screening and was placed on the Bulldogs' active roster for the first time. The good news came Thursday on his birthday in a call from Georgia director of sports medicine Ron Courson.

"This is the best birthday present I've ever had," Houston said in a statement. "I had almost reached the point where I thought this situation would never end. When I got the call, I broke down and cried for about 30 minutes. I had that much emotion stored up and it felt good to get it out. I'm ready now to show what I can do."

The problem began in 2010 when Houston failed an NCAA random drug test and was ruled ineligible because of steroid use. Houston and the Georgia medical staff said a steroid injection after shoulder surgery resulted in the positive test.

For the next three years, Houston unsuccessfully tried multiple means, including surgery, to get the steroids out of his system until he passed the latest test.

"This has been a long and very complex case and we have tried to be advocates for Kolton throughout this three-year process," Courson said. "We would like to thank the NCAA staff, as well as the members of the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports, who assisted with this case.

"There are a number of medical professionals who played key roles in this appeal, from physicians to pharmacists to biomedical researchers to drug toxicologists. This was truly a team effort."

Houston, considered one of the top offensive line recruits coming out of high school, enters preseason practice with a shot at playing time.

"The big thing is that we're just really happy for Kolton," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "We're thankful for all the work Ron Courson put in and for those who kept believing, but mostly we're happy for him. We don't want to put any pressure on him like now he's got to be a star. The bottom line is we're happy he'll be able to participate for Georgia. We're glad it all worked out."
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