UT FB Sione Houma, now listed at 6', 227 pounds, committed to Michigan in July of 2011 after visiting the campus and falling in love. Houma was not a highly touted kid, even in terms of normal fullback hype. At the time, Michigan had been heavily recruiting TX FB E.J. Fatu, and it looked like he might be the kid to take the spot in this class. Alas, Houma visited and committed, and Fatu ended up at Blinn Junior College in Texas. Other offered fullbacks in the class included OH FB Alden Hill, who signed with Tennessee, TX FB Dominic Ramacher, who signed with Oklahoma State, and TX FB Dennis Smith, who is also headed to Blinn Junior College
The story of Houma's recruitment is...not much of a story at all. Until he picked up offers from Washington and Michigan, there was little to no material out on the interwebs regarding Houma. Although he had been racking up the stats for his team, there hadn't been a lot of college interest up to that point. What may have attracted schools is athleticism for the position. From the coach.
Benson said Michigan and Washington have both recruited Houma with the intention of moving him to fullback, but other schools, such as UCLA, are interested in him as a tailback.
Utah and Utah State would offer Houma, as well, but by the end of July he was a Michigan commitment. He had also planned to camp at Georgia Tech (...Fullback U?), at which point an offer may have materialized. Alas, that also did not happen.
When you break down Houma's highlight tape, you come to understand why Washington and Michigan offered him. I mean, how many I-Formation ISOs with MANBAW FB do you see in this tape?
The answer (to save you defensive minded individuals 8 and a half minutes of cringing), is little to none. The strength in Houma's game is his versatility and athleticism for his size. The phrase 'West Coast Fullback' has been thrown around a lot with regards to his game, meaning he's not your traditional, lumbering road paver. Instead, Houma, will get the ball on designed runs, be a receiving threat out of the backfield, and of course block. From the man himself, following his June visit to Michigan ($).
Some schools are recruiting him as a tailback, but the Wolverines and several others see him as a fullback."I'd be running, blocking, and catching," he said. "They'd coach me up."
At this point, Houma's career path may not be all the different from Stephen Hopkins (with hopefully fewer off-the-field issues and probably less early playing time). He'll be used as a big back at the fullback position to lead block on occasion, but his running ability will not be ignored. I like how patient of a runner he is, waiting for his blocks instead of attempting to rely on his own athletic ability to make the big play. He's a long strider with good speed in the open field, and while he may be a bit stiff in the hips, no one is expecting him to be Fitzgerald Toussaint. If he's gotten into the open field, he'll be more reliant on his power than anything else to churn out extra yardage.
As I mentioned above, playing time will be relatively hard to come by. Although, at 227, Houma is much closer to his eventual playing weight than I thought he would be by this point in his career, he'll still start off third on the depth chart behind Hopkins and walk-on Joey Kerridge. Hopkins will likely finish out his career (a junior this year) as the starter. Kerridge may spell him, or be brought in on goal-line type situations, as Kerridge is more of a traditional fullback than Hopkins. In any case, Houma will likely be able to redshirt for his first year on campus. Following that, he will battle for the starting position going into his redshirt sophomore campaign, with Kerridge and perhaps a redshirt freshman Wyatt Shallman/any other '14 FB recruit.
So there you have it, folks. Houma is another kid that doesn't seem destined for stardom, but that may be as much attributed to his positioning as his talent. The athletic threat that Houma will present in the backfield, if properly utilized, could help keep defenses on their toes and open up opportunities for others, such as Devin Gardner.