Houston immediately joined a crowded UNC backfield as a true Freshman in 2007. His best season was 2009, where he had 713 yards rushing and 9 TDs. During the spring game of 2010, Houston fractured a scapula. Then he got suspended, and ended up taking 2010 off completely. In 2011, in a back-up role to Giovani Bernard, Houston had 325 yards and 7 TDs.
As an NFL Draft prospect, Houston is clearly a good short yardage back who can push the pile. Beyond that as a RB, Houston isn't fast, elusive, or a great receiver. Projected to move to FB in the NFL, Houston certainly has the size, but is high hipped, runs upright, and has never demonstrated blocking skills beyond pass protection and blitz pick-up.
Strengths: Is a big powerful runner who really started to look the part before injury. Has a nose for the end zone. Accelerates and turns well for a back his size. Good at pass blocking/blitz pick-up.
Weaknesses: Runs high and upright. Not fast. Never played FB. Not natural catching the ball. High hipped frame may not be well suited for NFL FB position. Was always below an average of 4 yards per carry in every season at UNC.
NFL Comparison: Charles Scott - New York Giants."
He can make a shifty jump cut in the hole in order to avoid a defender, and at his size and power he seems to bounce off defenders when trying to make them miss laterally.
However, he gets upright at times when trying to make defenders miss and doesn't have any kind of real burst to his game once he's asked to accelerate away from defenders. Possesses only average feel and instincts inside, but he can be effective in tight areas when picking his way through traffic.
He too often has a tendency to prematurely bounce plays toward the edge and lacks the speed to be effective trying to reach the perimeter.
He does a much better job finishing runs low and does churn his legs through contact. However, despite his solid quickness, he just isn't overly explosive laterally and doesn't have the initial burst to be overly effective in the NFL.
Needs to do a better job taking care of the football, he will put the ball on the ground at times. Missed the first five games of the season in 2010 due to his involvement in the agent scandal. Decided to redshirt and return for a full year in 2011.
Impression: A big college back with natural power and some shiftiness for his size laterally. However, it takes him too long to press the hole and doesn't run low enough to be that explosive, short yardage back."
Only shows one gear and can be tracked from behind.
Has not yet shown he is willing to do what it takes to be a pro, and weight has fluctuated throughout his career.
Appears disinterested blocking and tends to body the thrown ball.
Does not play on special teams, has questionable toughness and lacks the fiber desired for the FB position."
Lacks breakaway speed and isn’t going to make people miss in the open-field, but is a tough inside runner who keeps his pads low and gets great leg drive; solid short yardage back could also get a look as a FB although he is only an average blocker;
Decent receiver; ran for over 700 yards in 2009 as an injury replacement; underwent surgery to repair a shoulder injury this spring and could be limited early this fall."
As a true freshman at UNC in 2007, Ryan saw action in 7 games and carried 44 times for 144 yards.
In 2008, he played in all 13 games and carried 77 times for 299 yards and a team-best eight rushing touchdowns. In 2009, he ran for 713 yards and nine touchdowns on 191 carries on the season and also caught 11 passes for 82 yards.
During his senior campaign, he missed every game due to an injury and suspension, and appealed for a medical redshirt season, eschewing early entry to the 2011 NFL draft.
Strengths: A real load. Workhorse back. Probably the 2nd best big back available behind John Clay. Big bruiser who can carry the mail. N-S runner with a little sidestep move, and some decent acceleration off the snap. Has hands. Poor man's Lendale White. May be a little faster than 4.70.
Weaknesses: Lacks an overdrive gear. Will run into piles. Not many moves, and will be a targeted guy when he is in there and presents a nice big target. Runs a little high. Has some injury history.
Projection: 6-7th rounder."