Bulldogs Beat

Houston will act like a senior, but hope he's not

ATHENS - Kolton Houston will go through all the usual Senior Day activities this Saturday. He'll walk in with his parents, be announced to the crowd and shake hands with his coach.

And Houston hopes to do it all again next year.

Georgia's starting right tackle has applied to the NCAA for a sixth season of eligibility, based on having to sit his first three seasons because of the disputed drug suspension. Houston is cautiously optimistic about getting to extend his college career, but in case it's denied he wants to have experienced Senior Day.

"You never know with those guys," Houston said of the NCAA. "I'm confident that I like my possibilities. But not promises with those guys. Hopefully they'll work with me, and I'll be able to come back."

The NCAA considered Houston suspended for three years, then cleared the past two seasons after finally passing the drug test before last season, Houston's fourth at Georgia. The NCAA and UGA disagreed over whether Houston should have been suspended more than one season, arguing that scientific evidence showed that he had not been injected with steroids since high school, that it had just stayed in his system. The NCAA stuck to its guns, only clearing Houston to play when he passed the test.

Houston said his appeal was based on a hardship exemption, deferring to Georgia officials on the exact nature of it.

"About three years ago, when we distinguished that this was a different case than we had ever had before, they said they would work with me on trying to get me a sixth year," Houston said.

The application has been sent in, and Houston said he's been informed by the NCAA that it was "duly noted." There is no deadline for an answer, but he said he was expecting word "a week or two" before the bowl game.

Until then, he won't know whether he's a senior or a junior, but Houston had a good sense of humor about it.

"I'm pretty familiar with the whole limbo thing," he said. "I'm gonna treat it like it's my last game. I've sort of treated this like this is my last go-around, and I'll be blessed if I get another opportunity."