USC fullback Soma Vainuku signed with the Houston Texans after he went unpicked in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Soma Vainuku is a Texan.
The Houston Texans signed Vainuku as an undrafted free agent following the 2016 NFL Draft, according to Shane Hallam of DraftTV.
Vainuku’s value in the NFL has largely been linked to his exceptional special teams play. Having said that, he possesses intriguing speed for a runner of his size at fullback. That speed, athleticism and his size at 6-foot, 255 pounds combine to create a human bowling ball whether tracking down returners, going after punts or carrying the football.
He joins Brian Cushing as the only other former Trojan on the Texans.
It took some time for Vainuku’s career at USC to truly launch and some might argue that he was never properly utilized as an offensive weapon at the goal line.
He redshirted after enrolling early in 2011. Though he earned four starts as a redshirt freshman in 2012, he was best known for a key drop against Notre Dame at the goal line that season. Still he began to make his name on special teams even then.
The 2013 season heralded Vainuku’s rise to fan favorite. He ripped off a 52-yard touchdown run against Colorado but his play as on special teams, blocking three punts, earned him a place on the All-Pac-12 first team and the title of USC’s Special Teams Player of the Year.
Injuries limited Vainuku in 2014 but he remained a key figure for the Trojans at fullback and on special teams.
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Vainuku’s last hurrah in 2015 saw him named USC’s Special Teams Player of the Year for the second time and earn selection as an All-Pac-12 second teamer while also featuring in two fullback sets as the Trojans focused more on the power run game.
Kevon Seymour became USC’s first and only pick of Day 3 on Saturday when the Buffalo Bills picked him in the sixth round.
On Friday, Su’a Cravens was picked by the Washington Redskins in the second round while Max Tuerk went to the San Diego Chargers and Cody Kessler was unexpectedly selected by the Cleveland Browns in the third round.
All told, the Trojans had four draft picks in 2016, bringing USC’s total to 496 all-time.