Jim Harbaugh developed lesser recruited backs at Stanford, Michigan football has two 5 stars in the stable.

Jim Harbaugh developed lesser recruited backs at Stanford, Michigan football has two 5 stars in the stable.

Submitted by Brandon_L on December 30th, 2014 at 1:23 PM

One of the staples of an efficient Jim Harbaugh offense has always been the running back position. In his time at Stanford he coached the likes of Toby Gerhart (a 3 star Recruit, who was not recruited by Jim Harbaugh’s staff), Stephan Taylor, and Tyler Gafney, both of whom were Harbaugh recruits. Below are Harbaugh’s year by year running back commits while at stanford, provided by (www.rivals.com).


Player Position From Height Weight 40 Time Rivals *s Rating Commit Date videos
Jeremy Stewart RB Baton Rouge, LA Catholic 5’10” 193 4.7 3 stars 5.5 1/28/07  
Owen Marecic RB Portland, ORJesuit 6’1″ 220   2 stars   1/17/07  
Chike Amajoyi RB San Bernardino, CAAquinas 6’0″ 215 4.6 2 stars 5.4 1/25/07 1 video


Delano Howell RB Newhall, CAHart 6’0″ 180 4.5 3 stars 5.7 7/19/0720


San Diego, CACathedral Catholic
4 stars
Mansfield, TXMansfield
4 stars


Tustin, CATustin
4 stars

The three most productive running backs from Stanford under Harbaugh in order are:

Toby Gerhart (3 Star) 2009 consensus All-American:

            Rushing Rushing Rushing Rushing Receiving Receiving Receiving Receiving Scrimmage Scrimmage Scrimmage Scrimmage
Year School Conf Class Pos G Att Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
2006 Stanford Pac-10 FR RB 12 106 375 3.5 0 15 124 8.3 0 121 499 4.1 0
2007 Stanford Pac-10 SO RB 1 12 140 11.7 1         12 140 11.7 1
2008 Stanford Pac-10 JR RB 12 210 1136 5.4 15 13 114 8.8 0 223 1250 5.6 15
*2009 Stanford Pac-10 SR RB 13 343 1871 5.5 28 11 157 14.3 0 354 2028 5.7 28
Career Stanford         671 3522 5.2 44 39 395 10.1 0 710 3917 5.5 44

Stephan Taylor (4 star):

            Rushing Rushing Rushing Rushing Receiving Receiving Receiving Receiving Scrimmage Scrimmage Scrimmage Scrimmage
Year School Conf Class Pos G Att Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
*2009 Stanford Pac-10 FR RB 13 56 303 5.4 2 3 43 14.3 0 59 346 5.9 2
*2010 Stanford Pac-10 SO RB 13 223 1137 5.1 15 28 266 9.5 1 251 1403 5.6 16
*2011 Stanford Pac-12 JR RB 13 242 1330 5.5 10 25 182 7.3 2 267 1512 5.7 12
*2012 Stanford Pac-12 SR RB 14 322 1530 4.8 13 41 287 7 2 363 1817 5 15
Career Stanford         843 4300 5.1 40 97 778 8 5 940 5078 5.4 45

Tyler Gafney (4 star):

            Rushing Rushing Rushing Rushing Receiving Receiving Receiving Receiving Scrimmage Scrimmage Scrimmage Scrimmage
Year School Conf Class Pos G Att Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
*2009 Stanford Pac-10 FR RB 12 22 87 4 1 2 39 19.5 0 24 126 5.3 1
*2010 Stanford Pac-10 SO RB 10 60 255 4.3 4 3 60 20 2 63 315 5 6
*2011 Stanford Pac-12 JR RB 13 74 449 6.1 7 12 79 6.6 1 86 528 6.1 8
*2013 Stanford Pac-12 SR RB 14 330 1709 5.2 21 15 86 5.7 1 345 1795 5.2 22
Career Stanford         486 2500 5.1 33 32 264 8.3 4 518 2764 5.3 37

All three of these backs were, or eventually became the featured back in Jim Harbaugh’s offense at Stanford. The most highly touted of three listed backs above was Stephan Taylor. Stephan Taylor possessed great vision and was good at both the power and zone running scheme. There is no doubt that Taylor benefited from having Andrew Luck as his quarterback while at Stanford, but this is one of the many parts of the Harbaugh Offense that will be relied upon heavily at Michigan.

Toby Gerhart who was not recruited by Jim Harbaugh, was only 3 star recruit but he was the leader of the Stanford offense in 2008, 2009. In 2009 Gerhart was a workhouse. He compiled over 1800 yards on the ground. This was big for the growth of the Stanford offense and the tough identity it would have under Jim Harbaugh and that same identity has continued under current Stanford coach David Shaw. Gerhart can also be credited for helping take pressure off of a young Andrew Luck who was still coming into his own in 2009.

This is the type of back Michigan needs in Harbaugh’s first year, a tough nosed guy, who can get the tough yards when needed and who can carry the load 25,30 times per game. This will be important for Michigan in 2015 while Harbaugh grooms a quarterback.

Harbaugh was at a severe disadvantage recruiting and as you can see his best recruit was a 4 star at the running back position. According to rivals Harbaugh did not get a single 5 star commit at Stanford. Andrew Luck was a 4 star, and even Owen Marecic was only a 2 star kid. The big disadvantage were academics at Stanford. If a kid did commit to Stanford, he had to wait to be admitted academically and there were instances a recruit, or commit did not get accepted. Jim will not have this problem at Michigan. Yes, Michigan is a highly regarded academic institution, but not quite on the level of Stanford.

Stephan Taylor Highlights: Sorry I can never get the embed to work.

I have what I believe to be the four deep at the running back position for Michigan. We can argue the order all day, but I will start off with who I believe will line up first in 2015 for Michigan, based off of my own expectations.

1. Ty Issac, former 5 star recruit and number one ranked running back in the nation according to many recruiting sites out of high school. Click his name for more details.

2. Derek Green, Was also a 5 star guy out of high school. Rated the top back by many recruiting sites. Click his name for more. 

3. Deveon Smith, a 4 star kid out of Ohio. He is a bruiser who seems to lack great vision but would never avoid contact. Click his name.

4. Drake Johnson, a 3 star kid who played in the shadows of the Big House, at Ann Arbor pioneer High School. If it were not for his ACL tear against the Buckeyes this past season I would have him at 1, or 2 on the depth chart. If he can fully recover, he has the ability to overtake all the other guys listed above him. He possesses great speed and vision. Johnson can run powerfully between the tackles and will not avoid contact. Click his name as well for more details. 

The tape I chose to analyze was that of Ty Issac who played limited snaps his freshman season at USC before transferring to Michigan.

Ty issac every touch video while at USC. Click here for awesome.

The Thing that stands out to me when I watched the above video, is that Ty Issac never tries to avoid contact. He is always lowering the boom on defenders, and this is important when you are running a power, or a zone rushing attack. He also has a knack for bouncing the play outside. My only concern is his pad level. As a running back you always want to get low when running. I foresee Issac being the lead back to start 2015, while splitting carries with Derrick Green.

Michigan has depth, and before derrick green was hurt last year he was starting to come on stronger. As long as the offensive line continues to improve, Michigan will have success running the ball in 2015 and this will be important for Jim Harbaugh while he is breaking in a new signal caller.

Other links to my position by position series:



John U Bacon on UM Football, Athletics

John U Bacon on UM Football, Athletics

Submitted by Michael on October 24th, 2014 at 1:57 PM

I'm surprised to see that this hasn't been posted, but Bacon has written a very thorough analysis of where things currently stand with respect to the AD and football program. It's a bit long, but worth the read:


Would you be in favor of hiring a rival coach for Head Coach?

Would you be in favor of hiring a rival coach for Head Coach?

Submitted by sheepdog on October 20th, 2014 at 3:54 PM

Pretty straightforward question (and pretty hypothetical because this doesn't seem like a legit question to have to answer this time around).

If a rival coach of the caliber of a Kelly, Dantonio, Meyer or one of their capable coordinators (like a Naduzzi) showed interest, would you be in favor of this for the HEAD COACHING job at Michigan?

Also, does anyone know of some examples of this happening before?  Recent example would be USC hiring Sarkisian from Washington, although not the same level as aformentioned rivals.  

Personally, I wouldn't have a problem with it - even Tressel or someone - as long as we win.  If we didn't win, the world may end.  Our (arguably) beloved GMatt has had stops at both UM and ND, and was embraced again by the UM community a few years ago, as a DC though, obviously.


EDIT: In case anyone was confused about which position I am referring to, it would be our J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Head Football Coach.

Coaching Candidate: Making the Case for Beau Baldwin

Coaching Candidate: Making the Case for Beau Baldwin

Submitted by markusr2007 on September 29th, 2014 at 10:13 PM

OK, so who the hell is this guy?

Indeed 46 years later, "Beau Who?" might be once again an appropriate headline for the 2015 head football coach of the University of Michigan.  At least I think so.

I submit to you that any new head football coach search for Michigan must include youth, energy and proven record of success.  Beau Baldwin is one of the most successful college football coaches in the country right now.

Title: Head Coach

Team: Eastern Washington

Conference: Big Sky

Record: 56-22 at EWU, 66-25 career

Played QB at Central Washington 1991-1993

Coaching Career:

1994–2002      Central Washington (QB Coach)
2003–2006      Eastern Washington (OC & QB Coach)
2007                  Central Washington (HC)

2008–present  Eastern Washington (HC)


Influencers:   John Zamberlin, Paul Wulff, Greg Olson (OC for Oakland Raiders & QB coach of Drew Brees while at Purdue)

QBs Coached: Jon Kitna, Mike Reilly, Bo Levi Mitchell, Erik Meyer (Walter Payton Award winner), Vernon Adams


Defeated No. 25 Oregon State (Mike Riley) in Corvallis, August 2013 (EWU as FCS school).

Scared the shit out of Washington 52-59 in Seattle, September 6, 2014.

Offensive Philsophy:

“The idea is to tempo people and to get on people and to stay on people. But the whole philosophy of that no-huddle is to keep the defense off balance. And from there it’s nice to be able to spread people out and that’s always been my philosophy,” he added. “But you have to be balanced. You have to have the threat of both and I think that goes for any sport. To be a championship-caliber offense, you have to be balanced.”


-No Mid-West ties

-No FBS head coaching experience, just NCAA division II and FCS/Division I.

-Unfamiliar with the B1G

-Too west-centric. Completely unknown in the mid-west

- He doesn't have a wandering eye. Loves EWU. Loves the brand of football at the division II/I level. Says he's very happy where he's at.


- Strong, proven quarterback coaching skills and experience. High performance, numerous accolades won by QB players.

- Creative offensive coordinator, seasoned

- Strong HC performance over 7 years: 66 wins, 5 tournament appearances, 1 championship game. Never had a losing season. 3 time Big Sky coach of the year.

- Players love him.

- Strong confidence, determination, drive to make EWU nationally relevant program






Those who have watched the coach say he always seems so confident, so calm and so sure Eastern will slay any Goliath who gets in its way. Despite their No. 4 ranking in the FCS poll, that’s really what the Eagles were that evening in Corvallis, Ore. — a David with a coach named Beau Baldwin who calmly stalks sidelines with a disguised fearlessness he infuses into every coach and player he surrounds himself with.

“I think they just buy into that mindset, that attitude,” Baldwin said. “You have to live it, that’s what I’ll say. It’s one thing to say it in a team meeting, but as long as they see that you truly believe it then there’s no reason not to believe it. That’s when great things happen.”

Added Mario Brown, a fifth-year running back Baldwin recruited from Oakland, Calif., “It definitely carries over to the team. We’re a representation of who he is.”

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Central Washington Wildcats (Great Northwest Athletic Conference) (2007)
2007 Central Washington 10–3 6–2 3rd L NCAA Division II Quarterfinal
Central Washington: 10–3 6–2  
Eastern Washington Eagles (Big Sky Conference) (2008–present)
2008 Eastern Washington 6–5 5–3 T–3rd  
2009 Eastern Washington 8–4 6–2 T–2nd L NCAA Division I First Round
2010 Eastern Washington 13–2 7–1 T–1st W NCAA Division I Championship
2011 Eastern Washington 6–5 5–3 T–3rd  
2012 Eastern Washington 11–3 7–1 T–1st L NCAA Division I Semifinal
2013 Eastern Washington 12–3 8–0 1st L NCAA Division I Semifinal
Eastern Washington: 56–22 38–10  
Total: 66–25