Any time Dublin (Ohio) Scioto’s William Houston needs to find a little extra during Ohio State’s August two-a-days, the 5-foot-11, 231-pound fullback will look to his left biceps.
That’s where a tattoo with the word “earned” rests and that’s exactly what Houston will be doing as a preferred walk-on for the Buckeyes in the fall.
“I got it the end of my sophomore year,” Houston said. “Until now, it really never had a meaning, but now this is going to push me to prove I deserve a spot on the big stage and deserve a scholarship.”
The second-ranked fullback in the nation, Houston could have sent out game film and waited to choose where he wanted to play college ball. He had a scholarship offer from Bowling Green and preferred walk-on status at Michigan and South Carolina as well. He also had over 15 schools showing interest in him.
Throw in a senior season where he rushed for 1,151 yards and 12 touchdowns and caught 29 passes for 324 yards and two more scores and he easily could have waited to pick his spot.
But something kept pulling him back to Columbus.
“My dad played fullback there (he was a three-year letterwinner),” Houston said. “I’m a legacy at that school, but every time I’ve gone there I felt very comfortable. I felt at home.
“I built a good relationship with the coaching staff I asked myself, ‘What am I waiting on?' So I took it.”
But it was more than just dad -- who bears his same name -- that kept Houston looking at the Buckeyes.
Though the fullback is not used much in Ohio State’s spread offense, Houston would be the only fullback on campus, giving him a unique role with the team.
“Being the only fullback there, but still working at the H-back position and getting reps as well and working on special teams, I feel that I’ll have a specific role that no one else on the team has,” Houston said. “They said I’d be a great special teams guy to start off with and they’d use me in short-yardage situations since I have experience running the ball and can earn my scholarship for the 2014 class.”
When Houston factored everything in, it didn’t sway his decision in the least. In fact, he’s thinking about enrolling early to get a jump on things and mesh with the team as soon as he can.
“I don’t want to sound like a little kid or anything, but it’ll be a dream come true to play in front of all those fans,” Houston said. “It’ll be real exciting to come out of that tunnel. I’m going to try to build my own legacy.”