"Ryan Houston is a big running back prospect from Matthews (N.C.) Butler High School. Houston is a load -- and I mean a load. He certainly has the size and he runs low, making him compact and powerful and very tough to bring down. Houston also has some nimble feet and sometimes he can surprise you with his shiftiness, especially for a back of his size. And he's athletic. Defenders sometimes go low, diving at his ankles and he'll just hurdle them. Speed isn't his strength but for his size he certainly has very good football speed.
"At the next level, he could certainly play running back in the right system or be a dangerous fullback in an offense that uses the fullback in the running and passing game. Overall, he looks like the high school version of Jerome Bettis and is a talented, big back."
-- Jamie Newberg, National Analyst, Scout.com
Positives: "In Houston you're getting a guy that's 6-2, 250 pounds, and very athletic. He's a guy that basically has a lot of natural ability as a running back. He's able to run around players, he can actually jump over players, and he can run through players. He's a guy that's always getting positive yardage, always keeping his feet moving, has great balance, and good vision. He's going to take you into the fourth quarter with the defense worn down."
Negatives: "First and foremost is his size. Is he going to have weight trouble in college? Already we've seen a little bit of that at our combine. Hopefully he's going to take that to college and understand that he needs to continue to stay at a certain weight to be a force. And, understand, not going to be as much of a receiving threat out of the backfield as say a 180-pound guy with speed and moves."
Overall: "He's a fantastic athlete – plain and simple. He's a bruising tailback that doesn't fit in the third down receiving threat role. He could fit into a couple different positions so it's a matter of where does he fit best. It's just a matter of what does his body develop into. He's already very well physically developed and can jump in there early."
-- Miller Safrit, Regional Analyst, Scout.com
"I think his size is definitely an attribute. He's got the size to go through a hole that he needs to go through. He's got great vision – he sees the hole exceptionally well. He's able to change direction and make people miss. You don't normally see that on a kid that's [his size], but he's a heck of an athlete. He's going to be able things do things that a 180-pound ‘back can't do, and he's going to be able to do a lot of things that a 180-pound ‘back can do."
-- Mike Newsome, Matthews (N.C.) Butler High School
During his sophomore season, Houston started at tailback and accumulated about 1,500 yards and ten touchdowns on 102 carries. He was named to the all-conference team and played a major role on a rebuilding Butler High School squad that posted an overachieving 7-5 record.
As a junior, Houston saw some reps at defensive end, but his importance on offense limited his plays on defense. He ended the 2005 season with 1,910 yards and 34 touchdowns on the ground helping Butler to a 10-3 record. Once again he was named to the all-conference team, and also found his name on the Charlotte Observer's All-Area Team.
A Scout.com four-star prospect, Scout.com ranks Houston as a defensive end, despite being recruited at running back and projected at running back by North Carolina. Houston is the 20th-ranked defensive end in the nation by Scout.com. Scout.com also considers him to be the 53rd-ranked recruit in the Southeast Region and 7th-ranked recruit in the state of North Carolina.