National recruiting gurus are predicting that Derrick Green will become a Michigan Wolverine Saturday when he makes his college recruiting decision.
The experts have decided his choice between Michigan, Tennessee and Auburn shouldn’t be a difficult one.
“I would be very surprised if he does not commit to Michigan…” said Michael Clark of Scout.com.
Green, Scout.com's No.1-rated tailback who's blessed with both speed and power, sifted through more than 20 collegiate offers to arrive at the final three.
At 5’10”, 220 pounds, Green should fit right into Michigan’s new smash-mouth, power-I attack.
“Yeah, they are still the leader," he told rivals.com (via the Detroit Free Press). "Why? Because (Michigan) has not had any coaching changes, it is a top academic program, definitely a high chance to come out as a true freshman and playing, and I have a good relationship with the coaching staff."
Neither Tennessee nor Auburn can live up to what Green discussed.
First of all, both schools have hired new head coaches.
Tennessee (5-7, 1-7 SEC) plucked Michigan native Butch Jones from Cincinnati to replace Derek Dooley and Auburn (3-9, 0-8 SEC) selected former offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn to replace Gene Chizik.
Jones brings a pair of co-Big East championships to Tennessee, but joining the SEC is quite a step up. Starting off with a team which was 1-7 in the SEC and moves ahead with a disappointing No. 46 recruiting class doesn’t help.
Malzahn was Chizik’s offense coordinator from 2009 through 2011, but has only one year of head coaching experience (that being with FBS Arkansas State).
Auburn, however, might be losing running backs coach Rich Bisaccia, who could end up with the NFL's Dallas Cowboys. Adding to the turmoil, running back prospect Jordan Wilkins decommitted from Auburn during the past week.
Green is looking for an opportunity to play early, but at Tennessee, a pair of incumbents will make it tough. Senior Rajion Neal gained 708 rushing yards last year while Marlin Lane chipped in with 658.
A similar situation exists at Auburn where leading rusher Tre Mason returns (1,002 rushing yards) along with backup Mike Blakely (570 yards).
At Michigan (8-5, 6-2), Green could definitely earn the starting job. Fitz Toussaint had a subpar 2012 even before his season-ending leg injury, Thomas Rawls never saw the field at the Outback Bowl, and Justice Hayes (5'10, 183 lbs) could be too small for the new offensive attack. That leaves redshirt-freshman Drake Johnson and incoming freshmen Deveon Smith for Green to challenge.
Michigan is also in good shape in the other two categories.
When it comes to academics, Michigan ranks No. 29 in the nation according to U.S News and World Report. Auburn ranks No. 89 and Tennessee No. 101.
Green’s had a long time to strike up a relationship with Michigan’s coaching staff. That certainly can’t be said about either Auburn or Tennessee.
So logic says choosing Michigan should be an easy one for Green, who might be aware of a few other Richmonders—Brandon Minor and David Terrell—who also had success at Michigan.