From Portage Northern.
premature commitment posts
As you are probably aware, it's custom around these parts to pre-write Hello posts when there's a certain expectation that a player will commit. A trip through the mgoarchives reveals some examples of this going, well, poorly:
Sorry for the bad memories, but at least you didn't have to write these.
One of these times was in July, when rumor spread that Derrick Green was on the verge of a commitment after the BBQ at the Big House. I thought you'd like to see what I wrote about Michigan's latest commitment the first time around, so here's the post I wrote back on July 29th, in full—back when Michigan was the odds-on favorite for Laquon Treadwell, there were concerns Fitz Toussaint would leave early for the NFL, and Dennis Norfleet was a running back:
The BBQ at the Big House has delivered in a big way, as VA RB Derrick Green has committed to Michigan while attending the event. Green becomes the 24th commit in the class of 2013, joining DeVeon Smith and Wyatt Shallman at running back; he's also the 20th Wolverine commit to earn four stars or more on at least two of the four recruiting services.
Michigan now has one spot remaining in the class and their sights firmly set on IL WR Laquon Treadwell to fill it. Signing day is still a full six months away. NOT BAD, GUYS.
4*, #7 RB,
5*, #1 RB,
4*, 86, #6 RB,
4*, 94, #10 RB,
Green is regarded as a top ten running back across the board, with Rivals going so far as to name him the best in the country at the position and a five-star prospect. Scout and ESPN both have him in top 50 range, and while 247 is the least bullish they still place him easily within the top 150 overall. Rivals, ESPN, and 247 list Green at 6'0" and right around 215 pounds, while Scout has him at 5'11", 220. Recent reports describe him as a tank-like object, so the latter weight is likely closer to where he is right now.
If you're looking for a prospect in the mold of a classic Michigan tailback, Derrick Green is it. Scout lists his strengths as Power, Size, and Tackle-Breaking Ability, with Breakaway Speed, Elusiveness, and Hands as areas for improvement, and offers this scouting report [emphasis mine]:
A powerful running back who can blow through arm tackles and typically takes more than one defender to bring him down, Green has surprisingly quick feet for his size. He can clear traffic between the tackles, not getting tripped up because of his good balance. Not a conventional breakaway threat because of raw speed, but gets his share of long runs after breaking tackles at the line of scrimmage. Needs to catch more consistently - Scott Kennedy
Can you envision the MANBALL yet? Here's ESPN's evaluation:
One of the better power-backs this class has to offer. Green is a load and a strong, physically imposing runner ready to make the college jump. Well-built muscular frame with very good upper and lower body strength. Has thick legs and strong power base. Quick to get downhill and attack the hole. Gains momentum fast. Follows blocks well and cuts tightly off through the hole but is not a real patient runner and can struggle to get thin through smaller seams. Lacks fluidity through the hips as a lateral runner but shows sharp, subtle cutbacks and deceptive pick and slide ability at times. While he can sidestep and avoid he is at his best when squared up and given a heavy dose of Iso and Power plays. ... Not a lot of wasted cuts with this guy. Flashes the burst to get through tight in-line seams and into the second level quickly. Displays very good power to break tackles. He is an aggressive runner who drags tacklers and finishes runs falling forward. Will get the extra yards while wearing down a defense. A durable tough guy that likes contact. Not going to tackle him high when he breaks free into open field but does have a tendency to get chopped down low and lose balance. Would like to see him run more behind his pads with better lean and knee pump. Has the burst of speed to get outside but could struggle to the get to the edge clean at the next level. Has good speed for his size but not a homerun threat in college or a guy who is going to make you miss with elusiveness. Does shows more than adequate hands as an outlet receiver and has the size to pick up the blitz. Green projects to produce highly in a downhill, heavy power-running offense at the next level that can feed this North/South workhorse the ball.
Green attended the NFTC Baltimore camp this spring, and I'll spare bolding the entire paragraph from Scout's Bob Lichtenfels ($):
Richmond (Va.) Hermitage prospect Derrick Green is a tank. You can see with a build like Green that he would likely rather run through you than around you. Very powerfully built lower trunk and you can tell he does not shy away from the weight room.
ESPN's Dave Hooker profiled Green in May, discussing his transformation from a 268-pound offensive lineman into a 215-pound battering ram, and regarding that weight room...
Green's dedication to diet and training hasn't just moved the scale. It has moved massive amounts of weight. Green bench presses 330 pounds, squats 600 pounds and dead-lifts 615.
"Everybody says that's not legit, but we have a legit trainer that came from UVa," he said. "He makes sure you get low [on squats] and all that."
...nope, not shying away in the slightest.
Mike Farrell handed out awards after this summer's Rivals/VTO Virginia camp, and you'll never guess who won "Physical Specimen" ($):
Derrick Green from Richmond (Va.) Hermitage looks like a man-child. If you put him in a Wisconsin uniform and helmet, you'd think he was a college senior coming off a 2,000-yard season. His legs are beyond strong and thick and he looks like a human bowling ball, ready to knock down pin after pin heading to the end zone.
Farrell also raved about Green's frame when Rivals bumped him up to five stars, also noting that he's a more well-rounded back than previously thought:
"Green looks physically like a college junior," Farrell said. "If you put him in any college uniform right now and told someone who had never seen him that he was a 1,500-yard rusher, they wouldn't blink an eye. Plus he's shown the ability to block and catch passes now, so he's gone from a two-down back to an every-down guy. He's the most physically impressive running back we've seen in awhile."
You get the gist: Derrick Green is a tank/bowling ball/Mack truck/beast/freight train/specimen/man-child who will run POWER, take it north-south, and attempt to imprint the nearest defender's ribs with the wings on his helmet. He's also got a little wiggle for a guy his size, decent speed, and the ability to catch passes out of the backfield, but first and foremost this is a guy you hand the ball off to out of the I-form until the defense cries uncle.
Green chose Michigan over offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Miami (YTM), Ole Miss, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Penn State, Pitt, South Carolina, Tennessee, USC, Virginia Tech, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and several others.
Green rushed for 1,493 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior and was named to the 2011 All-Metro first-team. As a sophomore he ran for 800 yards and ten touchdowns.
FAKE 40 TIME
Green is listed on ESPN with a 4.31 40 time, which gets ALL OF THE FAKES. 247 lists a far more reasonable 4.58 while Rivals goes with a 4.4.
Scouts aren't kidding when they say Green runs north-south; he's heading upfield as soon as he gets a crease. He displays solid quickness and subtle-but-effective cuts, though there aren't as many long runs or brutal truckings of tiny high school safeties as one might hope. Overall, however, he's still quite impressive on film.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
If Green lives up to the reports of solid pass-catching and blocking, he's the type of back that eliminates any need for a rotation; just trot him out there and hand him the rock 20-25 times a game. After Fitz Toussaint, who will be a senior (let's hope) when Green is a freshman, it's uncertain if there's another back on the roster you could say that about. When Toussaint is gone in 2014, Green should compete with a senior Thomas Rawls and 2013 classmate DeVeon Smith for the role of every-down back, with Dennis Northfleet (quarkback) and Wyatt Shallman (short-yardage back) filling specialized roles.
Green has by far the highest recruiting profile of any Wolverine running back; despite the experience advantage for Rawls, he should be the odds-on favorite to succeed Toussaint. If Michigan's offense is moving in the direction of Wisconsin, Green will fit the role of typical Badger workhorse like a glove.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Green's commitment gives Michigan 24 in the class, and Sam Webb has recently suggested that the Wolverines have one spot remaining. While the coaches will likely continue to pursue a few backup options, such as AZ speedster Devon Allen, that spot will basically be held for Laquon Treadwell; a blue-chip receiver is the only need that hasn't been covered in the class.
From there, the focus fully turns over to the 2014 class. Again, it's July.