It doesn’t hurt Justin Strong’s recruitment that the Summit High School senior has an NFL player vouching for him. It also doesn’t hurt that the two share the same gene pool.
Victor Butler’s younger brother by seven years already has an offer from San Diego State but thanks in part to the Dallas Cowboys fourth-year linebacker Strong is fast gaining interest, even garnering an unofficial visit to Texas A&M last weekend courtesy of an assist from his sibling.
“He puts the word out about me,” Strong said of Butler, a 2005 Eisenhower High School graduate. “He’s talked to a lot of different schools like Texas A&M. I went down there and the coaches evaluated my flim and I got to check out the school and the football stadium. And Oregon State, where (Butler) went, is close to offering me too.”
Strong is also receiving interest from Boise State, Nevada, UCLA, San Jose State and New Mexico State. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Strong, who played linebacker for Summit’s CIF championship team last season, is being primarily recruited as a defensive back but Boise State prefers him at running back. With positional considerations further complicating things, the senior-to-be is happy he doesn’t have to make any decisions soon.
“I’ve played on the defensive side of the ball my whole life, so that’s where I’m more comfortable,” Strong said. “I could see myself playing running back but it’s different with some of these schools that want me as an athlete cause they don’t even know where they’re going to play me yet. I’m just going to see who is going to offer me then I’ll figure it out from there.”
As the fourth or fifth option in the backfield last season behind behind 1,200-yard rushers Jamaal Williams and Donte Deayon, who will play at BYU and Boise State this season, respectively, Strong carried just 10 times but made the most of it with 195 yards and three touchdowns.
Strong plans to attend camps this summer at Nevada, San Jose State and Sacramento State. Boise State requested some film of Strong playing running back this coming season before going so far as to offer. San Jose State gave Strong the indication that he can earn an offer with a good performance at its camp. Strong plans to take an unofficial visit to San Diego State before the end of June.