With the success that both Joe Kerridge and Sione Houma shared at the fullback position last year for Michigan, head coach Jim Harbaugh proved that having a reliable full back can still be a valuable asset to any offense.
With Kerridge and Houma off to greener pastures in the NFL, the Wolverines currently have a void at the fullback spot and are actively looking to fill the position.
Enter Khalid Hill.
Hill, a tight end in the U-M offense last season, made the switch to fullback in the spring and appears poised to be named the starter along with Henry Poggi, another converted fullback.
Despite the move happening in the spring, Hill may have already been tipped off to a potential move to fullback early on last season by Harbaugh himself.
"Last year coach (Harbaugh) brought it up to me and said, 'you know you look good for a fullback, right? You should play it sometime,'" Hill said. "I actually played it at BYU and I did pretty good at it. Coach Wheatley coached me up and everything. I actually spent the next week in the running back room because I had to grade out how I played and I actually graded out pretty well. This past spring he said to try (playing fullback out) and it went pretty well.
"I want to keep doing it, get better at it."
Any transition to a new position will take time to understand. With a new role also comes new responsibilities and, according to Hill, it appears his transition to fullback will not be as difficult as it might be for others because of the way the coaching staff used him in the offense last season.
"It's been pretty good," Hill said. "It's not that hard to go through the transition because playing tight end, I was the H-back and the H-back is in the backfield you're supposed to be around and doing different things out of the backfield. I think the only thing I had to get used to with playing fullback is protection. I didn't know the protections for fullbacks because being a running back, you're going to have to be able to protect the quarterback. I think I've got a good grasp of it now, I spent the whole spring ball getting ready for the season. I'm looking forward to it."
Hill describes his abilities of being able to play both tight end and fullback as versatile. If needed, he could excel as a tight end.
He also says that the new position has been very valuable in one specific ways. He has a unique understanding of the playbook as he is able to read defenses from multiple viewpoints.
"Me playing tight end and fullback shows how versatile you are," Hill said. "I can still go back and play tight end if I needed to, I could do it easily. It don't take nothing for me to do it, just being able to be that versatile and diverse is good because you understand the playbook even more. Knowing both is giving you a better grasp of the playbook and understanding everybody's position."