Michigan signed three powerful running backs in this year’s class in Derrick Green, DeVeon Smith and Wyatt Shallman. Are they comparable to the RB’s at Alabama? Find out, as Michigan running backs coach breaks down this year’s group. **Including a long video of Coach J - talking about everything**
The Michigan coaching staff saw firsthand what big bruising running backs can do to an opposing defense, when they lost to eventual national champion Alabama, 41-14, at Dallas Cowboys Stadium on Sep. 1, last year.
The Wolverines’ couldn’t handle ‘Bama running backs Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon and were consistently scorched throughout the disappointing loss at the hands of the Tide.
Fast forward to National Signing Day 2013, and Michigan may have found their Lacy or Yeldon in prized No.1 running back Derrick Green out of Richmond Hermitage (Va.) high school.
“He’s the same type of guy as a Yeldon or a Lacy or an (Mark) Ingram,” said Michigan running back coach Fred Jackson. “He’s the same kind of guy, like those guys are. It’s just matter of everything working for you.“
At 5-foot-11, 220-pounds, it’s easy to see why Green is compared to the physical running backs at Alabama. He is a bowling ball type runner, that can make the huge cuts and displays the quick feet and burst that the Michigan coaching staff is looking for—especially Jackson.
“Derrick can roll for a big man, now,” Jackson said. “He had been clocked at 4.4 (forty-time) and 220-pounds. That’s pretty good. …I don’t’ want to compare him to anybody. I think he is different than Anthony (Thomas). But he is built more like Chris (Perry). His style reminds me of Anthony’s. But until you see him next fall, you’ll see that he’s unique. He’s a unique back.”
The trend in this year’s class continued with signing of Warren Howland (Ohio) running back DeVeon Smith, who comes in at 5-foot-11, 210-pounds, and is very similar runner to Green, according to Jackson.
“DeVeon is the same type (of back as Green) just not as big,” Jackson explained. “Same type, I bet if you watch the film, I bet you will say very similar. …I’ll tell you what I like about DeVeon, he gets angry when you hit him. It pisses him off when you hit him. He just runs harder and harder after he gets hit. He is a contact kind of guy. He seems like he strives for contact. You watch the film and you’ll see that.”
Wyatt Shallman, is the third running back commit in this year’s class, while he viewed as more of fullback or H-back in college, his 6-foot-3, 245-pound build is what has Jackson excited.
“I like anything that big, that strong, that fast,” Jackson said of Shallman. “I talk to a few people where he worked out and they said he is the most powerful guy that they have ever seen at that young age.”
With the added size with year’s trio of runners, Jackson says you’ll see the difference late in November when the games matter the most in the Big Ten.
“You win championships in this league in November,” Jackson explained. “You will be able to see the difference when you got a little guy. Vincent (Smith) is little, Fitzgerald (Toussaint) is little, (Thomas) Rawls is little and Justice (Hayes is) little. They are all little. Rawls is a little wider. I’m talking about if you get big guys, just imagine yourself being a DB, you want to tackle Vince Smith or Derrick Green? Vince Smith or DeVeon? Those type of things. Vince Smith or Wyatt? I think that makes a difference. ‘Cause I am telling you, I watched that national championship game, I saw some guys says, “No sir, I don’t want that.” I’m talking about linebackers and safeties. I mean you saw the game and they’re getting out of the way.”