5-Star RB Derrick Green Commits to Michigan: Why He Should Start as a Freshman
The weeks and months of speculation are finally over, and Michigan Wolverines fans can now rejoice, breathe a little easier and shift their focus to the fall of 2013 because 5-star running back Derrick Green will wear the Maize and Blue winged helmet during his collegiate football career.
Thoughts of what Green is capable of doing to Big Ten linebackers are plenty. Thoughts of just how he will benefit an ailing Wolverines rushing attack are ever present.
So, will Green really start as a true freshman?
The powerful 6'0," 220-pounder tallied nine rushing touchdowns during his senior year before earning a laundry list of All-Everything accolades. Green averaged nearly 13 yards per carry and 160 per game this past season for the Panthers (10-1).
He's incredibly difficult to tackle, and he'll undoubtedly prove himself this fall when he faces Big Ten linebackers for the first time.
Yes, even as a true freshman, Green will receive his fair share of totes in Wolverines offensive coordinator Al Borges' scheme.
The Power-I formation, the ground-and-pound, the Bo-style of owning the field is perfect for Green, a one-time Ohio State target. Given the Wolverines' struggles while running in 2012, Green will surely inject a new level of excitement into Michigan's backfield.
First Year? No Problem
There aren't many true freshmen who get a chance to shine in the Big Ten. The level of talent is among the best in the land, but Green's game is undeniable; he's something special, and it doesn't make sense to shelve him for any reason.
The Wolverines averaged 183 yards on the ground per game in 2012. Of course, the bulk of that load was carried by quarterback Denard Robinson. Now that "Shoelace" has completed his term in Ann Arbor, Michigan needs another reliable horse to run, run, run.
Robinson became a Michigan legend during his time with the Wolverines. His athleticism is off the charts. But the Wolverines tailored their scheme—as much as possible, anyway—to cater to Robinson's strength.
Unfortunately for Michigan, that meant running more of a spread style filled with option-reads and misdirection plays. That works elsewhere, but it's not what works for Michigan.
Getting back to "Michigan football" has been coach Brady Hoke's mantra the past three years. Now that Hoke has Green, he'll no longer have to worry about his quarterback getting smashed each time the Wolverines take to the ground.
He won't have to cover his eyes and hope for the best when Green carries the ball. Well, he may cover his eyes while Green bulldozes Buckeyes and Spartans linebackers, but that's another story.
Move Over Thomas Rawls and Fitz Toussaint
Sophomore Thomas Rawls definitely made strides this past year. The Flint native has been compared to former Alabama star Mark Ingram, also of Flint, and appeared to be on the fast track to the spotlight in Michigan's backfield.
Michigan couldn't decide which back to use, so Rawls was shuffled in and out of the lineup while struggling junior Fitz Toussaint took on the lion's share of rushing duties. Toussaint was ineffective before his gruesome season-ending injury suffered against Iowa.
Here's a look at Rawls' and Toussaint's numbers: Rawls (57 carries, 242 yards, four touchdowns), Toussaint (130 carries, 514 yards, five touchdowns).
Opinions vary, but there were a lot of Wolverines fans who felt Rawls should have been placed into the No. 1 role as early as Week 3 or 4. Unfortunately for Rawls, he may never get a real shot at showing off his Ingram-like skills.
Green's arrival will spark a fiery competition. Get ready for that one.
Now that Michigan has its man in Green, the Wolverines have three solid options to start at running back. Don't forget about De'Veon Smith; he's another big-bodied wrecking ball that fits Borges' and Hoke's system.
However, it's hard not to speculate about Green. It's incredibly difficult to think that he won't have an immediate impact in Ann Arbor. Now that he's safely secure with Michigan, the rest of the Big Ten will have no other choice but to fear the Wolverines' talent-saturated backfield.
Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81
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