Versatile USC full back Soma Vainuku has reportedly signed with the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent. Shane Hallam of DraftTV reported the news on twitter though there is no official confirmation as of yet.
USC FB Soma Vainuku signs with the #Texans— Shane P. Hallam (@ShanePHallam) April 30, 2016
Traditional fullbacks are dying breed in the modern game. The days of pure battering rams are gone, and for a fullback to make it in today's NFL, he must be a jack-of-all-trades and special teams grinder. Soma Vainuku checks every box.
The son of a Tongan rugby star, and cousin of current Cincinnati Bengal and USC alum Rey Maulaluga, Vainuku spent 5 years in Southern California. After redshirting in his freshman season, Vainuku started at full back in each of the following four seasons. During his USC career, he rarely touched the ball, but showed the ability to contribute in every phase of the game. He finished his college career with 24 carries for 148 yards and 3 touchdowns, and added 17 receptions for 124 yards and 1 touchdown. But, it was on special teams where Vainuku really starred. A 2013 First Team All Pac-12 Special Teamer, he compiled 37 tackles, and 3 blocked punts during his time at USC.
It's on special teams where Vainuku will contribute in the NFL, a role he fully embraces. As one of only two fullback invitees in this year's Senior Bowl, Vainuku intended to make it known to scouts that he's always ready and willing to be the guy they can count on. The senior told scouts, "I'm willing to get in there and work my butt off to show them that if they draft me, their number is not wasted."
In a time gone by, Vainuku might have been a coveted prospect. His ideal era has now passed, but there's always room for a versatile football player, and special teams standout in Vainuku's mold.