Michigan Running Backs: Position Preview for the 2009 Season

David MendenhallCorrespondent IApril 20, 2009

ANN ARBOR, MI - OCTOBER 25:  Brandon Minor #4 of the Michigan Wolverines tries to get around the tackle of Brandon Long #47 of the Michigan State Spartans during a third quarter run on October 25, 2008 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan State won the game 35-21. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The running back situation at Michigan is looking very bright for the upcoming season. We probably have more depth at running back than we have had for a couple of years. Our backs are going to have to carry the offense this year, and I think they can do it. I am going to give you my projected depth chart, and what these guys are capable of. Look for some big plays and big yardage out of these guys this year.

1) Brandon Minor - 6'1 216

Minor took over the position the last couple of games last year. He showed his ability to break big runs, bust some tough yards up the middle, and he is a great blocker. Minor is a senior this year and he has taken a leadership roll in helping the team out.

Last year Minor had 103 rushes for 533 yards and 9 TD's. He also caught five passes for 59 yards and 2 TD's. He lead the team with 11 TD's, and 66 points. He will definitely be a key role to our offense this year. He will be looked upon to carry the load for the running backs(and block his but off to make sure Tate doesn'tt get crushed).  Look for Minor to to get a lot more TD's and yards this year.

2)  Carlos Brown - 6'0 206

Carlos Brown had been one of the most injury plagued running backs we have had. When he is healthy, he is a beast. Brown was injured for most of last year. He did get a chance to show his stuff against Northwestern. He had 23 carries and 115 yards that game. He showed the speed and strength he has when he is healthy.

Brown has had a great spring, and has only had one minor injury(which is great for him). If Brown can stay healthy, he will complement Minor very well. Can you imagine Brown and Minor in the backfield together and healthy...WOW. Brown will hold down the No. 2 spot if he can stay healthy. Brown is one of the fastest guys on the team. He will help be the lightning to Minor's thunder.

3) Michael Shaw - 6'0 177

Last year Shaw had 215 yards on 42 carries. He also caught 6 passes for 32 yards and 1 TD. Like Brown, Shaw was also plagued by injuries most of last year. Shaw is basically a faster Brandon Minor.

Shaw is a quick shifty back. He can make some good last second cuts(the Minnesota game). Shaw has been out this spring due to surgery, but I think he will still be the No. 3 back on the depth chart. Shaw does need to work on his ball handling skills. Other than that, look for Shaw to contribute to the position and add some depth.

4) Vincent Smith - 5'6 158

Outside of Tate, Vince has been the talk of the town this spring. He has showed that his size is just a number. From the video's I have seen, he is probably the most athletic back we have. He can cut and juke like no other. And he is also as tough as nails.

I think No. 3 and 4 on the depth chart are going to get about the same amount of playing time. I put Shaw ahead of Vince due to Shaw has had game experience, and Vince is a freshman. But if Vince can show his stuff when he is in, he will probably move up to No. 3.

5) Kevin Grady 5'9 226

I know I am going to get a lot of grief over putting Grady at No. 5. My reasoning is that Grady is going to be more of a fullback/third down back for us. I don't see him taking to many reps as a super-back. I think he can be a good third down back. His size and strength will help get those little yards we need for a first.

Grady has been known to cough up the ball on occasion. He really didn't contribute to much last year. He was suspended for the first game, and only rushed for a couple of yards in the other games. I think he can succeed in his new role. This is probably the best way for Grady to contribute.

I know our backfield will succeed this year. We have too much talent and depth for it not to. Look for some big numbers to be put up this year. Next Monday I will be doing my preview for the Wide-outs.                               GO BLUE!!!!!!