2013 Recruiting: Derrick Green Comment Count

Brian August 5th, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Previously: CB Reon Dawson, CB Channing Stribling, S Delano Hill, S Dymonte Thomas, CB Ross Douglas, CB Jourdan Lewis, LB Ben Gedeon, LB Mike McCray, DE Taco Charlton,DT Maurice Hurst Jr., DT Henry Poggi, OL Patrick Kugler, OL David Dawson, OL Logan Tuley-Tillman, OL Kyle Bosch, OL Chris Fox, OL Dan Samuelson, TE Jake Butt, TE Khalid Hill, HB Wyatt Shallman, WR Da'Mario Jones, WR Csont'e York, WR Jaron Dukes.

Richmond, VA – 6'0", 220


Scout 5*, #6 overall
#1 RB, #1 VA
Rivals 5*, #8 overall
#1 RB, #1 VA
ESPN 4*, #38 overall
#5 RB, #3 VA
24/7 4*, #84 overall
#8 RB, #5 VA
Other Suitors Ohio State, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, USC, Oklahoma, Miami, FSU, Oregon
YMRMFSPA Beanie Wells
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace.
Notes Army AA.


Senior highlights:

If you watch only one play of this reel make it the run that starts at 10:20.

Army game (actual play starts at 1:30):

It's not that Derrick Green breaks arm tackles. It's that he doesn't notice them. Go ahead, watch the highlight reel. On the high school level, an arm tackle may as well be an invitation marked endzone, party of one. So, yeah, he's not that elusive, but he doesn't have to be, because he's elusive enough not to take a head on shot and anything short of that… no sale.

But don't take it from me, take it from everybody.

  • Brian Dohn, Scout: "Green is a durable, physical runner who doesn't have elite speed, but that really isn't needed to be success. Just think Emmitt Smith. … He is big, strong, accelerates well and has very good vision and balance. He is creative and he is difficult to bring down. He has quick feet, and his change of direction is very good. He can make subtle cuts and turn a 3-yard gain into an 8-yard gain in a flash."
  • Various Rivals Analysts: "You can't build a better-looking high school running back if you tried as Green already looks like he's in college." "Green is a bowling ball of a runner who is very strong North-South but has quick feet and good balance. Once he decides to hit a hole, and he is a decisive runner, he is a load to handle. It would have been nice to see some full contact because you could tell he would have shrugged off linebackers." "Green showed why he is the No. 1 running back in the country by hitting all the right holes, showing off great vision and flashing his trademark burst." "In practices and in the game, Green ran with toughness and speed, cut very well and showed he has the vision to make an early impact at the next level."
  • ESPN: "Green is a load and a strong, physically imposing runner ready to make the college jump…. Green is quick to get downhill and attack the hole and he gains momentum fast. … 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 tacklers, he is at his best when squared up and given a heavy dose of Iso and Power plays. … Displays very good power to break tackles. … drags tacklers and finishes runs falling forward. … likes contact. Has good speed for his size, but not a home run threat in college or a player who is going to make you miss with elusiveness."
  • 247's Clint Brewster: "I compare Green to former Auburn tailback Ronnie Brown, who played under offensive coordinator Al Borges with the Tigers. Both Green and Brown are excellent catching the ball out of the backfield and are three-down running backs."

Green's combination of size, speed, and willingness to show out at camps saw him rise to the #1 RB spot on both Scout and Rivals; he wasn't far behind as a top 50 player and the #5 RB on ESPN, a decision that was apparently very narrow

This is arguably the most talented running back class we have seen in recent memory. The discrepancy in talent from our top-rated back Kelvin Taylor to our fifth-rated back Derrick Green is minimal on film and from a grade standpoint.

…and while 247 is the resident skeptic they still rate him inside their top 100. And, like, compare him to a first-round NFL draft pick.

Yet more scouting reports say he's "a bowling ball style back with a low center of gravity" with "burst and explosiveness," a "powerful running back who can blow through arm tackles," a "downhill runner who is decisive finding and hitting the hole" with "deceptive quickness" and is "far from just a North-South power back." You get it.

The Green hype is to the point that FRED JACKSON, yes, that FRED JACKSON, can say things and your first inclination is not to LOL and rush to the Fred Jackson Hyperbole Tracker but rather to pull out a bubble pipe, put on a tweed jacket, and disclaim "indeed, verily":

“He’s the same type of guy as a Yeldon or a Lacy or an Ingram. He’s the same kind of guy, like those guys are. It’s just matter of everything working for you.“

“Derrick can roll for a big man, now. He had been clocked at 4.4 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."

I… I just agree. I don't have snark about this. Fred Jackson, I agree. Fred Jackson, this is the sort of back who would hang out at Alabama, eating tackles for lunch and grinding out five yards on third and two. Yes.

Other comparisons on offer are LeVeon Bell

While both are big, strong and proven load backs, the similarity that really strikes you when watching them both is their ability to withstand the first hit and keep downhill momentum. Both of these backs have very good balance, and while they can break initial contact with power through the hole, they also have enough agility and quickness to spin and slip their way out of tackles through tight seams.

…and Marshawn Lynch:

"Both are explosive and violent runners, so it is an easy comparison to make. What I think makes them so similar is the physicality in the hole and getting into the next level. Neither guy is really looking to shake tacklers rather than hitting them with a stiff arm or just straight running over them. It is a mean streak and an angry approach to carrying the football, and they both have it." -- Adam Friedman, Rivals.com Northeast analyst.

    So pick a large, mean future first- or second-round draft pick.
    Now, there is some disagreement on certain points. Some people think he has near-breakaway speed, some not so much. Some people think he's great out of the backfield, others not so much. But no one disagrees that this person is essentially two years into college, physically…

Green looks like a college freshman or sophomore running back already [ED: 2011, ie, before his junior year of high school] with a tremendous build and very powerful legs. He is built like a bowling ball and is simply a ball of muscle that explodes and gains speed after his first few strides. What was most surprising however was his ability to catch the ball with soft hands.

ready to go

"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."

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.

The one minor note of disagreement comes from a review of the Opening from Scout, which worried that Green might turn into a fullback if he's not careful:

1. Derrick Green There were some mixed reviews on Green among the staff. He is strikingly thick for a high school running back which can worry you some as to how he develops and projects but even at that size, he has outstanding feet. Because he is so quick with his cuts and so decisive, he has the skill set to really complement his size well.

That is rather positive for a negative take, since the 1 by his name signifies he was the best tailback at the first day of that camp. But it is a point to consider.

Sort of.  Green entered high school with the opposite problem that most kids have: he needed to lose weight. That he's here is testament to his desire. He was actually a 268-pound freshman(!) who was told to play on the line because obviously but wanted to play tailback, so he dropped weight and dropped weight until he became the guy he is today, like Michelangelo carving David out of himself. Is that comparison overblown? Ask me in four years. (Ok, probably, shut up.)

But here is that pattern again, both in the work and the kind of person that Michigan is adding to the program.

Sam Webb: So you clearly know him better than most people here, most of the media. What should people know about Derrick Green that isn’t immediately obvious just by walking in and seeing him?

Domonique Hargrove: “One thing you have to know about him is, man, he definitely is a man of character, and he definitely keeps God first. … that’s what he kept saying, ‘I’m going to keep God first, he’s going to be one – Jesus is going to be the one to help me get to the top’, and hey, the proof is in the pudding, look at him here today, all his supporters, I love him, I love his mom and his dad, and I’m proud of him.”

Etc.: Star RB: OSU Will Always Be No. 1. Nope. Excellent profile article from 247 that's free. FWIW, Green ran a 4.56 forty to win a Fastest Man award as an underclassman despite being 230 at the time.

Why Beanie Wells? Yeldon and Lacy and This Year's Bama Back are also good comparisons but in terms of guys Michigan fans have seen an awful lot of, Wells is the best comparison available. He's a bit taller but about as heavy, was also the #1-ish tailback in his class, and combined enormous muscled pounding with quick feet and enough speed to make people pay for missed tackles.

After a debut season in which he split carries with Antonio Pittman, he took over the main job for his final two years, then bolted towards the tail end of the first round of the NFL draft. He averaged just under 6.0 YPC his two seasons as the starter. I mean:

Extraordinary combination of size and natural running ability. Downhill runner who attacks the line of scrimmage when running inside. Shows the patience to pick and slide laterally. Good burst to and through the hole. … Rare size and leg drive to move the pile. Rare vision and lateral quickness for a back of his size. Anticipates the cutback lanes before they appear and capitalizes on them. Surprising acceleration to break through the first wave of the defense and get to the second level. Brutal stiff-arm when in the open field to bat away defenders attempting to drag him down. Despite his size, shows good breakaway speed.

Hello, MY NAME IS Derrick Green.

BONUS: Wells was reputedly a Michigan fan growing up; Green was reputedly an OSU fan growing up.

Guru Reliability: Exacting. All the camps, All Star, heavily scouted top end prospect.

Variance: Low. Already college size, playing position, exacting guru reliability.

Ceiling: Vast. First round type back.

General Excitement Level: BOOM. Brady Hoke can't recruit skill positions, don't you know.

Projection: Beanie Wells comparisons don't stop at the talent's edge. Green, too, should split carries with a quality senior option as a senior before emerging into the starter for a two-year run that's appealing enough to the NFL that they snatch him up as soon as he's eligible.



August 5th, 2013 at 12:25 PM ^

usually whenever I hear bowling ball like RB, it's associated with MJD but not one mention. I wonder if he's just fading as a comparison to a good RB or if Green is a little tall to compare him with....?


August 5th, 2013 at 12:35 PM ^

Is it an inappropriate comparison to say that the backfield of Gardner/Toussaint/Green is comparable to that of Smith/Pittman/Wells?  The biggest difference is that Gardner is a far more accurate passer than Smith, and probably has a stronger arm too.


August 5th, 2013 at 12:30 PM ^

I think Green's like Hoard, a big back with average speed, like Hoard. Hopefully Green has Hart mentality. Hart didn't have elite speed or size but he had a big heart and made up for it.

Space Coyote

August 5th, 2013 at 12:53 PM ^

Too many people act like Hart's skill set involved wanting it more, when that isn't the case. Yes, Hart was a good runner that always fought for extra yards, but he had extremely quick feet, especially stop start quickness in the hole. He wasn't a lateral movement guy like Barry Sanders, but he was agile enough that tacklers never got good contact on him and he made a lot of arm tacklers look foolish. He also had tree trunk legs.

So, yeah, Hart wasn't the fastest back around, but don't sell him short like this.

Space Coyote

August 5th, 2013 at 2:05 PM ^

That got injured way too often. He took a ton of carries in college and couldn't stay healthy in the NFL. In his final year in the NFL where he finally saw some action because he wasn't hurt, he averaged over 4 yards a carry. Then he got hurt again.

He wasn't a great NFL back, frankly he wasn't a good NFL back (because he was hurt too often), and he was always limited by not getting long runs because he didn't have the top end speed, but he was much better and had much more talent than you made it sound like. You make it sound like a guy can just want it more and gain the most rushing yards in Michigan history. If that were the case I think a few of us on this blog would be topping the record books in our time.


August 5th, 2013 at 1:58 PM ^

He was a great RB. He single handedly used his moves to gain yards he had no business gaining. But I get what are saying. He was not elite. It was often frustrating to see him make a great cut or move only to see him caught from behind. He was lacked the elite home run ability that often I found to be representative of Carr's late years. Good, but just can't seem to close out to become elite.

Ron Utah

August 5th, 2013 at 3:45 PM ^

You mean because Tim Tebow is so good in the NFL?

NFL does NOT equal college.

Hart was a GREAT college RB; one of the best Michigan has ever had, and he could not have done that on heart alone.  He was VERY physically gifted, just not in some of the ways that are more important in the NFL.


August 5th, 2013 at 3:40 PM ^

When I see Green I see signs of who Hart replaced. Green runs a lot like Underwood in that both were bigger backs with short gliding strides until they hit the 2nd-3rd level. Underwood was never as bulked as Green is even now but was highly touted out of HS. Underwood's issue was (a)vision/decision making and (b) what I fear Green may have an issue with and that's NEEDING a gimme 3 yard hole to even get going or it's just a pile at the LOS. Green has better vision and even a decent quick cut but he doesn't always drive his legs immediately as much as he short skips them. That leads to a big guy with little momentum rendering his size moot. He also isn't very elusive so a dominant OL is very likely a necessity. Not just decent, average or good but dominant. Some guys have a skill set that lets them have success with average OLs and I don't see that in Green due to how he runs. An Underwood like career is not out of the question but if our OL pans out like it should he should easily be a 1st-2nd rounder and have great success. I can just see why some sites have slight concern and always have. Finally, would be shocked if he isn't an instant solid contributor and is a big success here. I just see a monster sized guy who could use a lot of OL help (obviously) but also a ton of improvement with footwork/driving legs AT the hole rather than once in it as he was brought down pretty handily by guys smaller than him at times as much as he trucked others. Needs to always explode into the hole as D1 LBs can bring down a ball of muscle if it's not moving and in HS he often didn't get his legs really driving until the obligatory gimme 2nd level that comes with a team like his.


August 5th, 2013 at 1:42 PM ^

Isn't all weight gained/lost good? But in all honesty, if a HS kid gains 10-15 pounds when not in a college S&C program, how much would you bet is good? And then there's the question of does a guy with that build already really need an extra 10-15 lbs? Is it worth sacrificing speed when he's already 220-225?


August 5th, 2013 at 4:31 PM ^

247 had an interview with Green a couple months ago, and in it he went over his weekly workout regimen with Steve.   It sounds like he's doing about 5 hours of workout a day with a trainer, and on his days off doing olympic lifts and Bikram Yoga (there was a freep article that mentioned this as well).  If this is true, then I find it hard to believe he has much bad weight on him.  (Link to the article $)

This freep (yes, i know, i know) article talks about his work in bettering his diet and workout regimen.  Unless he's had a change big change of heart, I think he's likely going to be fine.


August 5th, 2013 at 12:33 PM ^

I am sure your comparisons are better, seeing how you're the expert and all, but...

has good speed for his size, but not a home run threat


He can make subtle cuts and turn a 3-yard gain into an 8-yard gain in a flash.

remind me of Mike Hart in an NFL body.

Jack Daniels

August 5th, 2013 at 12:54 PM ^

Webb was talking about him either last week or the week before that and mentioned he came in at 235. If they think he can play at that, sure, but I thought he would be around 220-225


August 5th, 2013 at 1:28 PM ^

Yeah, that has me kind of worried honestly.  The players who are A type backs thant can run at that weight and height are by far the exception.  Especially if he truly did play all of last season around 225.  I had thought the fact that he was able to get down into the 220-225 range his junior/senior season was the reason why he was able to add an extra half step or step to his speed.  Hopefully he doesn't lose the quick feet and burst.


August 5th, 2013 at 12:54 PM ^

I hope I'm wrong here, but I guess I don't see why he's the #1 RB in the nation. He's big but he seems kinda slow even for high school so I'm not sure how he's going to do in college. You'll see arm tackles slide off him but he's usually slow enough that 4 or 5 guys catch up to him right after.

Then again, he has offers from every top program and is a 5* to some and top 100 to all so I must be missing something

Space Coyote

August 5th, 2013 at 1:18 PM ^

I agree in the sense that he wasn't the #1 HS RB in the nation, but he is much more college ready than many of the other backs that are ahead of him. He doesn't have the vision or speed that allows him to cut it against the grain and turn a 20 yard run into a 60 yard TD, but at the college level very few do. I can think of: Reggie Bush, Denard Robinson... yeah. So while he doesn't look as great on his film compared to some others, he's doing things that will maximize his ability at the college level now.

I tend to agree that he probably wasn't the #1 RB regardless, but he is up there IMO, it just boils down to projecting the abilities to the next level. I think those abilities are worthy of a top 50-100 spot. 


August 5th, 2013 at 1:21 PM ^

thing but what really bothers me is that he doesn't keep his legs pistoning that well on contact. I think the development of that technique will be an extremely important part of Green's development because, while he has the size to blow up blockers, without remaining explosive in his legs throughout the tackle he is slown down too much and he doesn't have the speed/acceleration to recover from that which leads to him being tackled from behind. 

The best comparison I can think of is ex-Wisconsin Running back PJ HIll. Hopefully Green can have similar early production to Hill but sustain development and turn into a better NFL prospect than PJ did.


August 6th, 2013 at 1:58 AM ^

There are several runs on the highlight reel where he blows through the secondary and outruns converging safeties for a long TD. In any case thats not Greens game. You're looking for an elusive, slashing, juking type back with top end speed. What you have in Green is a Jamal Anderson, or Jamal Lewis type: Thick, bruising backs with decisive, no-nonsense downhill running styles, elite acceleration (though not top end speed), surprising wiggle, great balance and extraordinary vision. That combination of features is deadly in a power running game. It's the type of back that wears down and demoralizes defenses when paired with a big o-line. Can't to run play action with this guy.


August 6th, 2013 at 12:19 PM ^

I just would've expected him to get past the linebackers more consistently. Aside from the few runs where he does take it to the house, he usually ends up with the whole linebacking unit on his back.

Then again, he looks a bit quicker and more decisive in the few runs from the Army game so maybe tape is deceiving. I'm just surprised how rarely he clears the linebackers

Ron Utah

August 5th, 2013 at 3:50 PM ^

There are few RBs who play against better defenses than Derrick Green did.  Remember Thomas Rawls' highlight reel of unstoppable TD runs?

What Green shows in his reel are the qualities that actually translate to college production in a pro-style offense:

  • Size and durability
  • Good-to-Great burst (more important than top-end speed)
  • Excellent vision
  • Yards after contact and love of contact (as opposed to a fear of contact)
  • Enough elusiveness to add yards in the open field

Watch his highlights from the AA game.  He is playing against college talent in that game.  When there's no blocking, what happens?  He gets stuffed.  That's real life college football.  But he doesn't dance around before getting stuffed, he hits the hole and loses very little (if any) yards.  When there is a hole?  He explodes through it and picks-up yards after contact.

He's not Reggie Bush, but he could very well be better than Anthony Thomas was.


August 5th, 2013 at 1:00 PM ^

...flimsy evidence: We will see lots of pistol based diamond and two back sets featuring combinations of Touissaint, Green, and Kerridge/Houma. 

I mentioned this before, but when my son worked the Green commitment event with Sam Webb, he found Derrick to be demonstrably humble and pleasant. The good kid theme is strong in this one.


August 5th, 2013 at 1:10 PM ^

Beanie Wells comparisons don't stop at the talent's edge. Green, too, should split carries with a quality senior option as a senior before emerging into the starter for a two-year run that's appealing enough to the NFL that they snatch him up as soon as he's eligible.

...whereupon Michigan will wave wistfully and turn to DeVeon Smith and Damien Harris to duke it out for the starting job.

Awwwww yeah.


August 5th, 2013 at 1:14 PM ^

... so he dropped weight and dropped weight until he became the guy he is today, like Michelangelo carving David out of himself.

Great stuff.


August 5th, 2013 at 1:20 PM ^

Butnut comment:  "I love seeing kids like this, kids that absolutely LOVE tOSU. This kid has already committed. He just needs to earn the offer; I just hope he is a good kid."  HAHA    Looking forward to the day when the YMRMFSPA is Derek Green, and everyone gets excited.


August 5th, 2013 at 1:24 PM ^

to see how well Fitz bounces back from his injury, will he be playing like he did in 2011? Green reminds me of the every down back that will get more yards as the game goes on. I'm not sure Hoke will go to Green this year as the featured back but I could see Green getting a lot of 3rd and short and red zone carries this season.


August 5th, 2013 at 1:42 PM ^

I didnt know he was an OSU fan growing up. I followed the recruitment but I guess I never caught why he never decided to go there and why he liked Michigan so much. Can anyone help me with that?


I do know our O fits him better than OSU would. 


August 5th, 2013 at 1:55 PM ^

but maybe it was the brand of football these 2 schools play. I hate o state with every fiber,but i like that the 2 schools want to hurt one another and want to get on the field and play. maybe that is what this bruiser is thinking about. The battles that he will be in for 4 or 5 seasons and being another chapter in the history of it.