Following the departure of dual-threat quarterback Denard Robinson, one of the biggest questions for Michigan next season is where the Wolverines will find production in the backfield.
That's why top recruit Derrick Green, who is scheduled to announce his commitment on Jan. 26, is so important for the program.
Green, ranked as a 5-star running back by Rivals.com, made official visits to Michigan, Tennessee and Auburn in 2012. He's received offers from numerous programs ranging from the SEC to the Big Ten to the Big 12 to the Pac-12.
The 6'0", 215-pound Virginia native is widely considered to be one of the best power backs in the 2013 recruiting class. He works best as a downhill runner, using his momentum to burst through tackles and rack up yardage after contact.
As of this writing, Michigan will have redshirt senior Fitzgerald Toussaint, junior Thomas Rawls, redshirt sophomore Justice Hayes, redshirt freshman Drake Johnson and freshman Deveon Smith in the backfield next season.
Toussaint figures to be the starter, but that has more to do with who surrounds him than his overall talent level, and he's coming off a major injury.
Rawls showed some life in limited duty last season, but when he started he didn't exactly step up to the plate.
Hayes is more of a Vincent Smith-type than a legitimate starting running back.
Johnson could conceivably emerge as the starter given his combination of power, speed and athleticism, but he's not very experienced and he would have to make some strides in camp.
But you plug Green in there and he has a great chance of not only starting, but flourishing at Michigan in his first season.
Don't forget, Brady Hoke is building up this offensive line. One of his biggest priorities during the recruiting process this year has been adding muscle on the line.
It has shown, as Michigan currently boasts five offensive linemen in the ESPN 300, including top-100 guard David Dawson.
You grab a power runner like Green and set him up with a promising offensive line and who knows what can happen.
Michigan currently has the No. 7 recruiting class, behind Ohio State in the Big Ten, according to ESPN.
But if Green joins the Wolverines, that gap figures to shrink considerably.
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