MALIBU, Calif. - Earlier this week the Elite 11 quarterbacks took an afternoon off and headed for the beach but Bart Houston stayed behind because he wanted to work with camp counselor George Whitfield.
The Concord (Calif.) De La Salle doesn't regret his decision. Given the chance again, he'd take the extra hours to work on his game anytime.
"I knew it was kind of recreational time and everybody was going to go and screw around but I came down here to work," Houston said.
Article Continues Below
"I want to come play football and I have something to worry about at De La Salle. Which one will get me better - working or playing football at the beach and possibly getting hurt? We've been working together and we just worked on some stuff."
Houston's work ethic can only be good news for his senior season at De La Salle and his future at Wisconsin, where he committed in early May.
Taking extra time to work on his game, never being satisfied with his skills, is not something new to Houston, who helped lead powerhouse De La Salle to an undefeated season as a junior including a 48-8 thumping of Anaheim Servite in last year's final.
"It's the kind of thing I do all the time," Houstons aid. "Everybody will be screwing around in the locker room and I'll be on the side going over a play.
"Before every practice kids will come to me and ask me concepts on plays and I'll tell them. That's my role. I'm here to learn. I'm having lots of fun, I'm having a blast, we're all talking and having fun, but I'm here to learn first.
"It's probably the most important thing. At De La Salle, it's the mindset, not the play. We believe if you're self-accountable then you can be accountable to others. That's something I strive to be. Then you're a leader on the team. I try to get together my stuff, do it all right and then go on and help everybody else out."
A three-star by Rivals.com, Houston is ranked No. 11 at pro-style quarterback and No. 43 in the California state rankings.
After a shaky performance early this year at the U.S. Army National Combine in San Antonio, Houston really bounced back at the Elite 11 and is counted among the top dozen quarterbacks at the event.
The mentality that compelled him to work with Whitfield while everyone else was soaking up rays was the same kind of mindset he found with the Badgers when he took an unofficial visit.
Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, San Diego State, UCLA, Utah and Washington had also offered but Houston found his best fit in Madison.
"It's the mindset they have there - team first," Houston said.
"What really got me there was when we went out to the student union, there was a kid wearing his Big Ten ring. It was nice and everything but he was a freshman and he redshirted and do you really think a redshirt freshman guy deserves to be wearing a ring?
"I was hanging out with going-to-be juniors and going-to-be seniors and they were asking why was he doing that? They were ashamed to wear their rings and they play on third downs and special teams but they're not the guys yet. They weren't wearing their rings because that was for the seniors. That really stuck out to me."