Michigan Football Recruiting: What to Expect in Derrick Green's Freshman Year
Once Derrick Green signs his Michigan letter of intent next month, the serious work begins.
The Richmond, Va. commit will arrive in Ann Arbor this summer ready to show why he's Scout.com's No. 1 rated running back.
The 6'0", 220-pound Green caught Michigan coach Brady Hoke's eye as a powerful, yet speedy runner, who would be perfect for Michigan's new smash-mouth, between-the-tackles rushing attack.
Green recently displayed a glimpse of his talents by first posting a 40-yard dash time of 4.36 at the recent U.S. Army All-American Bowl, then rushing for 49 yards on eight carries during the game itself.
With the addition of Green, Michigan will have the best stable of power backs since the combination of Anthony "A-Train" Thomas and Chris Perry in 2000.
Could Green have anywhere near the success of Thomas (who finished his Michigan career with 4,472 yards, second on the all-time list behind Michael Hart)?
Green will first have to wrestle the starting job away from some cool customers.
Also looking for playing time at running back this fall will be Fitzgerald Toussaint, Thomas Rawls, Drake Johnson, Deveon Smith, Justice Hayes and Dennis Norfleet.
Toussaint, who suffered a season-ending leg injury against Iowa (Nov. 17), battled through a disappointing 2012 season, finishing with just 514 yards after gaining 1,041 yards the year before.
Rawls, like Toussaint, is somewhat of a question mark going into 2013. At times, the 5'10", 218-pound bruiser ran with confidence, but at other times he looked lost. When Denard Robinson took a spot in the offensive backfield at the Outback Bowl, Rawls became the No. 4 tailback and never played.
If Hoke decides to play the freshmen, look for Green to be part of a two-man rotation with Smith, who prepped at Warren (Ohio) Howland. At 5'10, 218 pounds, Smith's qualifications are not far from Green's.
Rated the state of Ohio's No. 6 prospect overall, Smith ran for 1,800 yards and scored 27 touchdowns during his senior season.
It's also possible that Johnson can use his speed to wiggle his way into the rotation. As a high school athlete he was an All-American in the 110-meter high hurdles.
That leaves Hayes and Norfleet as third-down or situational backs, with Toussaint and Rawls still in question. There's also the possibility of a split-back alignment, which Michigan used successfully in the 1981 Rose Bowl. That formation excludes the fullback, who seldom ran the ball in Michigan's previous power-I offenses.
Let's also not forget incoming freshman Wyatt Shallman from Detroit Catholic Central. The 6'3" 250-pound Shallman was a originally projected to play fullback at Michigan, but was forced to play defensive end much of 2012 due to a hamstring injury. While he still dreams of running ball from the tailback position, look for him to workout at strong-side defensive end and fullback this spring.
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