Kolton Houston wasn't sure if he'd ever get to play football at the University of Georgia.
But on his 22nd birthday, Houston got the news that the NCAA had finally decided to lift the ban suspending his eligibility due to the presence of a steroid in his system. The three-year fight for Houston's reinstatement was a tough one. He failed an initial NCAA test for banned substances before his UGA career even began, back in 2010, when he arrived in Athens, Ga., as an early-enrolling freshman. He had been given the substance by a doctor to aid his recovery from a shoulder surgery in high school, and initially received a one-year ban from the NCAA.
But a lifetime ban was handed down when the substance reappeared in subsequent testing, and that's when Georgia Director of Sports Medicine Ron Courson went to work. Courson led the appeal charge, contending that Houston had not continued to take the substance, but rather that the steroid had been trapped in Houston's fatty tissue.
Houston's statement, released by UGA:
"This is the best birthday present I've ever had. 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."
Houston, an offensive lineman, will be ready to compete Tuesday when the Bulldogs commence fall camp. And few are happier about it than coach Mark Richt: