Brandon Minor - 96 Carries, 502 Yards, 5.2 YPC, 8 Rushing Touchdowns
Carlos Brown - 81 Carries, 480 Yards, 5.9 YPC, 4 Rushing Touchdowns
Next In Line
Vincent Smith - 48 Carries, 276 Yards, 5.8 YPC, 1 Rushing Touchdown
Michael Shaw - 42 Carries, 185 Yards, 4.4 YPC, 2 Rushing Touchdowns
If there is one thing you should know about having a successful offense in the Big Ten, it's that you need to be able to run the ball effectively. Last year, the top five teams in terms of point per game in the Big Ten were all also in the top six in terms of rushing yards per game.
With Michigan's top two rushers from last year graduating there will be quite a few questions marks around the running back position. Luckily for Michigan, they won't only be relying on their running backs to pick up yards on the ground. Also, the "starting" job will almost undoubtedly be more of a platoon situation, which will take some pressure off of whoever is named the "starter".
I expect sophomore Vincent Smith to grab the primary role in the platoon, with junior Michael Shaw spelling him when needed, assuming that Smith recovers fully from tearing his ACL last year. However, if Smith doesn't recover quickly enough or fully enough, I would look for redshirt sophomore Michael Cox to possibly win a job in the platoon.
At any rate, I actually expect the Michigan running attack to get stronger this year because of two main reasons. First, there should be more consistency. With injury-prone Brandon Minor as the starter last year, the fans were never quite sure who would get the bulk of the carries on any given week. Second, the play of the starting quarterback (whoever it ends up being) should be better than last year, as well, and that should relieve some pressure from the running backs.