Photo by Barry BurlesonDarian Houston (seated, right) is joined by his parents, Brooks (standing, center) and Tiffany Houston (seated)during a signing ceremony last week at Marshall Academy. Also standing are head coach Bruce Branch (left)and assistant coach and high school principal Jason Taylor (right).
Houston signs with Northeast
A dream since he was playing baseball as a small child came to fruition last week for Darian Houston.
The Marshall Academy senior signed a scholarship with Northeast Mississippi Community College.
"This really means a lot," said Houston, who started this journey in T-ball. "It's something I've wanted ever since I started playing baseball to be able to attend college and play baseball, and then keep going as far as I can.
"I feel that I have achieved a goal. I put in all those years of baseball for this, and I got it."
Houston, a middle infielder, attended MA three years. As a junior and senior he was coached by Bruce Branch, who said he could end up being a dual position player at Northeast.
"That's one of the good things about Darian going to Northeast," Branch said. "They're not going to limit him to being an infielder or any other position. He could be a center fielder, a middle infielder or even play third base."
The coach said Houston's top qualities on the diamond are speed and arm strength.
"There's a lot of upside to him," Branch said.
"He also has a lot of pop in his bat. He can hit for power, too, and hit to all parts of the field."
The COVID-19 pandemic has shut down baseball activity. Houston said he had planned to play American Legion baseball this summer but it has been cancelled.
"It will be hard to find anybody still playing (this summer)," he said.
Meanwhile, he keeps working out on his own.
He said head coach Richy Harrelson at Northeast stays in constant contact with his players.
"He has given us a workout plan, and I'm doing that," Houston said.
He hopes to have two successful years at Northeast and then advance to play baseball for a senior college.
"That's the plan," Houston said.
And his high school coach believes that's highly possible.
"Absolutely," Branch said.
"Could he be a D-1 guy? Yes, he could. Or he'd really fit in well at a place like Delta State or Millsaps or any good D-II or D-III school.
"I truly believe he can continue his baseball career if he has a good two years at Northeast."