Michigan Football: Why Derrick Green Is More Important Than Shane Morris

Zach DirlamSenior Analyst IIFebruary 12, 2013

Incoming freshman running back Derrick Green will be a major reason why the Michigan Wolverines compete for a Big Ten title in 2013. Photo courtesy of 247Sports.
Incoming freshman running back Derrick Green will be a major reason why the Michigan Wolverines compete for a Big Ten title in 2013. Photo courtesy of 247Sports.

Two of the newest Michigan Wolverines from the school's No. 5-ranked 2013 recruiting haul are undoubtedly going to make a significant impact on the program in the near future, but landing 5-star running back Derrick Green was much more important than bringing in 4-star quarterback Shane Morris.

Once rising senior Devin Gardner is out of eligibility, Morris will be the favorite to become Michigan's starting signal-caller. Morris has a cannon for an arm, but still needs a year to develop his accuracy and has to learn how to read defenses better than he did at the high school level.

Until that time comes though, the Warren, Mich. product will be relegated to holding a clipboard on the sideline. 

Conversely, Green will not have to wait behind an established veteran in the backfield, and he will allow the coaching staff to expedite the transition process from the spread offense to a pro-style attack.

The Wolverines' top rusher for the past three seasons is outgoing senior Denard Robinson and the Maize and Blue have been without a star running back since Mike Hart graduated in 2007.

Green is the bruiser Michigan fans have wanted their team to have for six years.

According to Mike Farrell of Rivals.com, Green already has the body and skill set to get on the field as a true freshman.

"He's built like a college running back now," Farrell said. "He's got tremendous straightaway speed, really good vision. He's turned into a one-cut runner, and that's the type of guy you want when he's 230 pounds, built like he is and as strong as he is.

You don't want him to dance around the line of scrimmage, and he'll be the type of guy in college who will take a few runs of two yards or three yards, pop off a 25 or 30-yarder and wear you down in the fourth quarter."

Green's outstanding work ethic, which is the biggest reason he went from being a chunky fullback with wheels to a stocky running back in the first place, will serve him well at the college level. Oh, and his mentality while toting the rock might very well be his greatest asset of all.

"If you're in the way, I'm going to blow you up. I'm not going to try and shake you," Green told ESPN.com's Dave Hooker last May. "At my school, they call me 'The Freight Train.' I like that a lot. I'm going to run you over and let you know I'm here. I'm coming."

The Hermitage (Va.) High School standout will share the limelight with Morris for the Wolverines eventually.

Morris has all of the leadership abilities and physical tools to become one of the greatest quarterbacks in school history. Still, Morris will need Green to help set up the play-action passing game and keep defenses honest for Michigan's offense to flourish.

Head coach Brady Hoke knows the value of a dominant rushing attack as well. That is why Hoke has already signed 11 offensive linemen in his first two recruiting classes with the Wolverines.

Both Green and Morris will play important roles in Michigan's pursuit of a national title over the next four or five years. Landing an every-down back like Green was more critical for the program's future success, though.


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