The 5-star running back Derrick Green and 4-star wide receiver Laquon Treadwell have both been high on top of the University of Michigan's target list for a while now, but if push came to shove and they could only snag one, Green would be the star recruit the Wolverines must have.
Green's value to the Michigan program has nothing to do with his star ranking—5-star compared to Treadwell's 4-star—and it does not devalue how good Treadwell can be at the next level.
From a pure X's and O's standpoint, Green is the recruit Brady Hoke and the Wolverines need to have. He needs to be the No. 1 priority, even over a player like Treadwell, who has drawn much attention from Michigan fans.
Let's break down why.
By now it's rather obviously that Hoke is trying to shift the offensive system Michigan runs. Instead of the option-read look the Wolverines have been running with Denard Robinson at quarterback, Hoke wants to transition to a pro-style offense. This means the quarterback will be under-center much more, there will be an emphasis on hard-nosed, downhill running with the running back, and the play-action pass will be featured much more prominently.
In order to have success in any type of scheme you have to have the right kind of players, and Hoke is bringing in 5-star quarterback, and Rivals' No. 2 rated pro-style quarterback, Shane Morris, who fits the scheme perfectly.
What Hoke doesn't yet have is a running back with superstar potential that can carry the load for his offense, but that's exactly what he'd be getting in Green—who checks in at 6'0'', 220 pounds and runs a 4.4 40 according to Rivals.
While having a receiver like Treadwell would be a huge plus, it's not necessarily a need right now for Michigan, and that's what makes Green the must have prospect.
The secret here is that a great quarterback, which I believe Morris has the potential to be, can make receivers around him better. On the flip side, a great quarterback cannot make a running back great. The back either has it, or he doesn't.
The Wolverines could line up a bunch of adequate receivers around Morris and his skill alone can make them better, but there is no hiding a subpar back in the backfield. Make no mistake about it, Hoke's system won't work with a back that can't cut it.
Much of the pro-style system hinders on being able to run the ball to set up the pass, and if the defense doesn't respect the threat of the run they can easily keep just seven or even six defenders in the box, which would shut down the passing game.
With an elite runner in the backfield though, defenses will be forced to pack the box. Defenders will naturally take read steps anticipating the run, and that's when a star quarterback like Morris can really shine—when the defense is on it's heels.
Treadwell would be a great pickup for Hoke, but he won't make or break this system.
Getting a running back like Green could mean the difference between success and disappointment for Michigan, so Hoke needs to do everything he can to secure the 5-star running back to his 2013 class.