Hello: Sione Houma

Submitted by Tim on July 25th, 2011 at 6:57 PM

Caution: this draft is from June, so some portions may be slightly out-of-date. If I see anything glaringly wrong or in need of update, I'll fix it.

UT FB Sione Houma committed to Michigan today, showing that Brady Hoke was VERY SERIOUS INDEED about landing a blocking back in this crop. That brings Michigan's commitment total for the 2012 class to 20, with a class of 23-26 on tap (though there aren't that many spots available yet).

SioneHouma-mug.jpg

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
2*, NR RB NR RB NR RB Not in Database

So, uh, I think it's fair to say this kid is a bit under-the-radar, no? Oddly, it seems that Michigan is recruiting him strictly as a fullback, although all three sites that have heard of him list him as a running back. And, well, they might be onto something. He's listed at a consensus 6-0, 215ish, which is really small for a fullback, unless his frame is really underdeveloped. Considering Michigan has offered a 6-3, 245-lb kid as a tailback for next year's class, it is quite curious indeed.

As a high schooler, he's the A-back (dive man) in a wishbone offense. That may be why schools think he's capable of playing fullback, but it also means he hasn't done a whole lot of lead blocking at this point. His video shows exactly what you'd expect: a guy who gets the ball surrounded by defenders, and instead of trying to go around them, he just keeps his legs churning and grinds out tough yardage. He's not going to go down on first contact, but that's more a result of effort and power, rather than impressive balance.

What is impressive is his ability to pull away from defenders should he happen to get through the first line of defense cleanly. He also shows the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, an important skill in a West Coast(ish) offense.

OFFERS

Apart from Michigan, it was mostly local(ish) schools that had offered. Utah and Utah State were joined by PAC-12 member Washington as the other schools that had extended offers to Sione.

Georgia Tech (noted fullback-users) had also showed interest, but did not extend an offer.

STATS

Scout and Rivals have the exact same stats for him, so I'm guessing they come straight from his coach's mouth:

As a junior Houma rushed for 1,211 yards and 9 touchdowns.

Without knowing how many carries that spans, it's impressive, but we can't be sure quite how impressive it is (his highlight reel embedded below says only 1,064 yards and 7 TDs, for the record). He was named first-team all-state.

FAKE 40 TIME

Once again, Scout and Rivals have the exact same information, so it's likely to be straight from the source: 4.53 seconds. If Michigan is indeed looking at this kid as a fullback, I would guess it's because he isn't very fast (the competition in Utah probably isn't the greatest either, so take the highlights with a grain of salt), so... four FAKEs out of five.

VIDEO

For a kid that the recruiting sites know next-to-nothing about, there certainly is a lot of video available on him. Highlights:

Utah Sports Action also has a couple short clips, and some game highlights of his team.

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

Michigan has a couple fullback options in the class of 2011 (be they position-switchers or preferred walkons), which means they'll have at least a year in the system - and possibly a year on the field - on him by the time Sione enrolls next fall. That spells immediate redshirt, especially since he needs to bulk up to play fullback.

After that, however, your guess is as good as mine. A couple years on special teams (he would make a good coverage man with his toughness and surprising speed) are likely if he can't beat out those ahead of him. If he can, four years of starting is probably in the cards.

Fullback is not a glory position, and he's not going to be a Kevin Dudley-type masher, either. What he will bring is more ability with the ball in his hands, either running or catching it. That provides an offensive versatility, particularly because he could also be the lone back in sets where the running back motions, etc.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

The staff seemed intent on landing a fullback in this class, and they got one. Defensive tackle is still the biggest need for 2012, and other positions are rounding out nicely. Brady Hoke says this will be a nearly-full class of 23-26 kids, so the staff can fill a couple needs, while only worrying about elite prospects.

Comments

neoavatara

July 25th, 2011 at 7:04 PM ^

Well, this is one of those 'trust the coaches' recruits.  You either trust Hoke and the staff, or you don't. 

They wanted a FB, got one, and I think they are happy.  That is enough for me. 

cigol

July 25th, 2011 at 7:04 PM ^

Am I missing something here or is this guy one of the top 2-3 fastest recruits in the class if that 4.53 is in fact true? I know there's more to football than size and speed, but why is this guy a 2 star / NR with the same size and speed of say....Brionte Dunn???

IndyBlue90

July 25th, 2011 at 8:53 PM ^

He looks pretty fast in his video, maybe not 4.5 fast, but he's blowing by DBs and then seperating further. I imagine as he puts on weight will be hard to maintain that, but its kind of exciting to see a fullback bolt like that.

Elmer

July 25th, 2011 at 7:58 PM ^

Agreed, the kid can really move.  It doesn't make sense to conclude he must not be that fast since we're recruiting him as a fullback.  His running style is a better reason for him being a fullback.  Nothing wrong with a fast FB if he can add some weight.

MGoShoe

July 25th, 2011 at 9:41 PM ^

...that. What I'm saying is it seems like 2 fakes, not 4.

My kids' HS runs that same triple offense option and for all the years I've watched that team play (and they've been a VA AAA Div 5 runner up and semifinalist and AAA Div 6 semifinalist) I've only seen on of their 3-backs with that level of speed. Houma knows how to hit the assigned hole, keep his pads low, bounce off of the first hit and use his breakaway speed to great advantage. He also appears to be able to block in space and catch. After he puts on 30 lbs or so, he will be a very versatile back in Borges' pro set.

Mr Mackey

July 25th, 2011 at 7:10 PM ^

The highlight tape is impressive, but then again, it's against Utah high schools. 

That being said, it'll be great to have a lead blocker for Morris and whatever RB we get! Welcome, Sione, it'll be fun to watch you in Ann Arbor

JeepinBen

July 26th, 2011 at 8:23 AM ^

Let's not forget how good a blocker Odoms is at 5'9'' and 150lbs Wet. 

I think the staff may be looking at Houma as more of a "skill" fullback than your typical 250lb lead blocker. 

I'm thinking of him as a Jacob Hester type (formerly of LSU, now a fullback on the Chargers) Hester was listed at 5'11'' 226 at the Combine and went in the 3rd round to the Chargers as a FB

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Hester

If he can block well enough to get a hat-on-a-hat he doesn't have to blow up a LB. We can use him like this:

If we ever REALLY need that 1 yard we can go to the "Beef Machine" backfield with a couple DTs as lead blockers or (more likely) we'll have a 250lb Walk On LB Crusher

joeyb

July 25th, 2011 at 7:50 PM ^

First, I don't think being short as a FB is a bad thing. He'll be able to get leverage on the LBs he'll be blocking. Second, that's the Flexbone. The wishbone actually has the FB block a lot. Third, he is freaking fast for a FB.

bfradette

July 25th, 2011 at 8:05 PM ^

I have to admit, the words "Ye Gods!" came out a couple times as he pulled away. Kid is fast. Didn't notice but one block, but then I only watched the first couple minutes. Looks like a real match up problem for opposing dcoords. Imagine this guy lining up at FB, then motioning out into a slot or just outside a TE. Does the mike come all the way out there to cover him if he goes on a pattern, thus leaving the middle wide open? Or might a safety have to roll up on him, leaving the WR on that side with one on one?

turtleboy

July 25th, 2011 at 8:18 PM ^

I'm very pleased about this. The kid seems to be a combo back more than a true FB because he has so much speed, but I LOVE his yards after contact. Pretty good blocker, too. I liked how he was overthrown but caught up to the ball anyways in one of his highlights. :)

Captain

July 25th, 2011 at 8:32 PM ^

This kid reminds me a lot of Brandon Minor. 

Similar measurements coming out of high school, fullback-type substance with running back speed...if Houma can avoid Minor's injury problems he could have a very productive career.

DutchWolverine

July 25th, 2011 at 8:41 PM ^

Speed must be legit considering they have him back returning kicks.  Reminds me of Beanie Wells--maybe his film just reminds me of the nightmares I have of OSU backs breaking free straight up the middle for 50 yard touchdowns.  Hoping that all ends this fall.

Welcome to the family.

Lampuki22

July 25th, 2011 at 8:57 PM ^

Blocks, catches, runs a 4.5 and punishes his tacklers. Call me Crazy, but this 2* is one of my favorite commuts. There are intangibles in this pickup.

cigol

July 25th, 2011 at 9:14 PM ^

Are there examples of kids from barren football areas, such as Utah, who don't have a lot of money, so can't fly around the country attending all of these camps where recruiting gurus compile their rankings, who end up being studs?

Wolverine15

July 25th, 2011 at 9:31 PM ^

but i really like the pad level that he runs with. also, he reminds me a little bit of maurice jones drew in that he runs like a bowling ball. works hard for every yard