In this edition of the Michigan Football position preview series, I will zero in on the running backs where the Wolverines have a stable full of intriguing prospects and 5th year senior with fire in his eyes.
What we know
Fitzgerald Toussaint (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
In the Iowa games last year, Fitz Toussaint suffered a broken leg, was lost for the season and there was concern about whether or not he would be ready for the start of the 2013 campaign. Toussaint has declared himself 100% healthy. When asked last week, who he thought the starting running back would be for the August 31st opener, Toussaint had no doubts. “I’m going to be the starting running back on Aug. 31,” he declared.
“Fitz has got fire in his eyes,” Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges said during the first week of fall camp. “I see no signs of any injury. He is very hungry.” As a sophomore, Toussaint rushed for 1,041 yards. He struggled last year, netting just 514 yards before going down with the injury. Now a 5th year senior, Toussaint is poised for a strong campaign.
One of the centerpieces of Michigan’s 2013 recruiting class was Derrick Green, the nation’s top ranked running back. He is a 5-foot-11, 240 pound bulldozer. It’s going to be hard to keep him off the field and combined with Toussaint, he’ll give the Wolverines a strong 1-2 punch at running back.
Areas of concern
The concerns here are of the token variety. Yes, Toussaint is coming off a severe injury. However, all indication are that he is 100% and ready to go. He knows the offense and will be able to mentor the young bulls waiting in the wings.
Yes, the backup position is unproven and will almost certainly be manned by a freshman and most likely a true freshman. Historically, running back is a position where a true freshman can come in and have a major impact, see Mike Hart’s 1,455 yard freshman campaign. The freshman backs that occupy Michigan’s roster are impressive specimens; Derrick Green, De’Veon Smith (5-11, 224), Drake Johnson (redshirt frosh 6-0, 213), and Wyatt Shallman (6-3, 237).
Potential breakout player
Derrick Green was the cream of the crop coming out of high school last year. He is a chiseled 240 pound back with great vision, quickness and decisiveness. When you think of a Big Ten running back, you think of a Derrick Green. It’s not hard to imagine him piling up 800 yards rushing this season.
FB: Sione Houma (So, 6-0, 231)
RB: Fitz Toussaint (RS Sr, 5-10, 200)
Key reserves: Derrick Green, De’Veon Smith, Drake Johnson, Justice Hayes, Thomas Rawls, Joe Kerridge
Incoming freshmen: Derrick Green, De’Veon Smith, Wyatt Shallman
Michigan Football position preview: receivers and tight ends
Michigan Football’s all-time best running backs
Michigan Football position preview: offensive line
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