Hello: Derrick Green

Submitted by Ace on January 26th, 2013 at 2:36 PM

Rejoice, Michigan fans. Richmond (VA) Hermitage running back Derrick Green—the nation's top-ranked RB on Scout and Rivals—announced his commitment to Michigan this afternoon, choosing the Wolverines over Auburn and Tennessee. Green is Michigan's 27th commit of the 2013 class, joining DeVeon Smith and Wyatt Shallman among running backs.

With Green's commitment, feel free to dance on the grave of the "Brady Hoke can't close on elite skill position prospects" meme. It will not be missed.


Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
5*, #1 RB,
#6 Ovr
5*, #1 RB,
#8 Ovr
4*, 87, #5 RB,
#38 Ovr
4*, 95, #8 RB,
#84 Ovr

According to The Mathlete's composite rankings, Green is the highest-ranked running back to commit to Michigan since 2002—narrowly edging out Kevin Grady—and sixth overall (the top five: Prescott Burgess, Ryan Mallett, LaMarr Woodley, Brandon Graham, Chad Henne). He's the first truly elite running back recruit Michigan has landed since Grady; going by Rivals, the top-ranked Wolverine RB commit since 2005 is Carlos Brown (#35 overall), then there's a significant drop to Justice Hayes (#85).

Both Rivals and Scout consider Green the top running back prospect in the country and a top-eight recruit overall, while ESPN and 247 are less bullish but still have him as one of the better backs in the country. He's listed between 5'11" and 6'0" tall and around 220 pounds, figures that should be accurate considering his multiple combine appearances.

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:

Green is quick to get downhill and attack the hole and he gains momentum fast. He 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. He 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. Even on outside tosses or stretch plays, he is quick to plant and get north finding the vertical crease. Not a lot of wasted cuts with this guy. He 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.


Defenders are not going to tackle him high when he breaks free into open field, but he does have a tendency to get chopped down low and lose balance. We would like to see him run more behind his pads with better lean and knee pump.

ESPN's Dave Hooker profiled Green last May, discussing his transformation from a 268-pound offensive lineman into a 220-pound battering ram and his prowess in the 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, no concerns there.

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."

Green went to the Army All-American Game looking to prove he was the nation's best back. In the eyes of Rivals and Scout, he did just that, earning the East's #1 performer of the week honors from the former ($)...

Coming to San Antonio with a target on his back didn't seem to bother Green. The running backs on the East and West team tried to dethrone the nation's No. 1 back but were unsuccessful. 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. His signature moment was a 23-yard run in the game during which he broke at least two tackles.

...and top ten East in-game performer status from the latter:

Green finished the game with 49 yards on eight carries. A bowling ball style back with low center of gravity, he showed his burst and explosiveness at times today. He's not just a power guy. We didn't see the receiving skills he showed during the week in the game, but we know he can do it and that combination of skills has him as the nation's second ranked running back. 

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.


Per his 247 profile, Green rushed for 1,285 yards and 20 touchdowns on 185 carries in his senior season. He tallied 1,493 yards and 20 TDs as a junior and 800 yards and ten TDs in his sophomore year.


There was a rumored 4.31 40 time floating around at some point, which gets ALL OF THE FAKES. 247 lists a far more reasonable 4.58, which is the number I'd put the most stock in, while Rivals goes with a 4.4. Green shows off good but not elite speed on film, and a 4.58 electronic time would fall in that range.


Senior highlights:

Clips from the Army All-American Bowl:

Junior highlights:

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.

While Green shows great burst through the line and decisiveness in his cuts, there's a clear need for improvement when he breaks into the open field. As ESPN noted in his scouting report, Green gets chopped down at the legs too easily, a product of running too upright and not getting his knees high when running through contact. If Green can improve in that area, he goes from a power back that consistently picks up chunks of yardage to more of a home-run threat. Overall, however, he's still quite impressive on film.


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 when Green is a freshman—assuming he's recovered from a brutal leg injury—it's uncertain if there's another back on the roster you could say that about.

After an ugly 2012 for Michigan backs, Green should compete right away for a starting job, and he could be the odds-on favorite if Toussaint can't find his 2011 form (a difficult task given his injury). Al Borges has a stated preference for using a feature back over a committee approach, and Green could be that guy. Even if he doesn't land the starting job, it's hard to see him not being part of a rotation, and a redshirt seems out of the question.


Now that Green's recruitment is over, Michigan awaits the decision of TX TE Durham Smythe (currently planning to make his choice on signing day), and otherwise it appears they've wrapped up the 2013 class barring any late offers.

The real upshot, of course, is that Michigan now has the #1 running back recruit in the class, which is cause for celebratory dancing:



January 26th, 2013 at 7:05 PM ^

So not only did we just land the #1 RB in the nation, but he'll be on campus by June and playing in the fall! 

I am a big fan of Hoke's sign them early plan, but it is a bit of a tease to have to wait so long for guys like Shane Morris and Dymonte Thomas to hit campus.



January 26th, 2013 at 8:20 PM ^

Just watched his junior and senior film.  Wow, he really improved during the past year.  Almost didn't seem like the same back.

Looking forward to see Green and Deveon Smith carry the ball next year. 


January 26th, 2013 at 8:21 PM ^



January 27th, 2013 at 8:46 AM ^

I'm envisioning dozens of "LOL, Michigan can't close on elite recruits" being tossed out on the RCMB right now. Sparty shouldn't worry, their 40th ranked class should be just fine once Dantonio coaches all those guys up.


January 26th, 2013 at 11:25 PM ^

...working with Sam Webb. He called me before he drove back to Blacksburg and said that Michigan has really gotten a special kid. He said that Green's family was incredibly nice and that Derrick seems like a genuinely good and humble guy. 


January 27th, 2013 at 6:15 AM ^

As a couple people mentioned above, Green really improved quite a bit between 2011 and 2012.  It seemed like he was just a straight-ahead bruiser who, quite honestly, didn't break as many tackles as a bruiser should.  But he seems to have improved his conditioning, speed, and agility.  I think that work ethic bodes well for his future.


January 27th, 2013 at 8:44 AM ^

I am sure that Green will be in the rotation but I am not sure if DeVeon Smith can or should steal minutes away from a healthy Toussaint, or entrenched players like Hayes, Rawls and Johnson. I think we would be better off redshirting Smith so we can sort out we have with a more improved Oline. If Smith and Green both play as true freshmen, I think we wave bye bye to most of the entrenched players. I can see Rawls as a FB and definitely Johnson and Hayes at WR.


January 27th, 2013 at 8:44 AM ^

I have to be honest...Green is a nice pickup, he shows some decent size and skills in his highlight film...but after watching all of the tape available online, it is surprising to me that he is the #1 back in the country.  Maybe it is a thin class of RB this year.  Dont get me wrong, Im not saying he is not very good and has potential, he does.  He is a solid RB and sort of reminds me of Curtis Enis in size and the way he runs.  That is cool, if that is your thing in RBs...I just like to see them have a bit more burst.   He is much to thin in his lower body though and has to work on his balance.  Too often he goes down on first contact.  This kid may be number 1, but he has a lot of work to do before he can make an immediate impact next year.


January 27th, 2013 at 9:11 AM ^

I don't agree with the thin at his legs comment. I have read that he squats something crazy like 600 lbs. Also he has been lauded for having a strong base. I agree that he we will have continue progressing but the good thing is he is known for a great work ethic. I think he fits our offense perfectly eventhough he isnt a burner. Hopefully he is durable enough to punish the opposition to open play action up. You dont need elite speed to do that.

Ron Utah

January 27th, 2013 at 2:11 PM ^

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but you're just flat out wrong about his lower body.  He has huge, powerful legs.  Whether or not he goes down "too often" on first contact is a matter of opinion, I guess, but he breaks a lot of tackles and certainly racks-up YAC (yards after contact).

Does he have work to do?  Yes.  Most notably, he needs to run a bit lower (which will help with his balance too).  Is he probably the most talented back we have on our roster?  Yes, and probably by a healthy margin.


January 27th, 2013 at 4:13 PM ^

thin legs...I worded that wrongly... its not that they are thin, it is that his proportion of weight is much higher up on his body right now...he runs upright and shoulders first, his legs in proportion to the body just seem less developed...I know that he is strong etc. and his legs are probably big but the way that he runs... he does not utilize them to gain as much power, he is easily tripped up by the legs.  Its on the tape.  I hope he improves there.  He needs a lower center of gravity.

I dont mean to sound like I am slogging on the kid.  He looks like a solid 4 star back on the tape and could have an excellent career.  I personally just dont see 5 star #1 back on that tape.  Perhaps he is more impressive in person to watch, and perhaps the level of competition that he played vs in HS is top notch etc. which would explain the 6.8 ypc in HS for a back of his ranking. 

Because he lacks home run / top-end gear, he will need to have great feet, a nice burst and power to make up for it in the college game.  By burst, im talking about that area 3-5 yds on either side of the LOS where the RB makes that cut and go.  aka the jets.  It is the difference between a good back and a great back. None of the backs on the roster had it last year.  Fitz showed great burst in 11, but it was gone last year taking the OL weaknesses in account as well.  I didnt see that burst on Derrick's films.  As for the power aspect, it would be nice to see as he grows and matures, breaking more of those one on one tackles.  The Army bowl film is a bit harder to evaluate because the defense was stacking the box 10 men up within 10 yards.  Anyway... just making an observation.  I hope he has a great career. 


January 27th, 2013 at 8:48 AM ^

what Wellman and the staff do with his weight. I would guess they would like to see him trim and lean out a few pounds. Playing between 215 and 220 might be in the future. Just a guess.


January 27th, 2013 at 12:28 PM ^

It's great that we got Derrick Green.  This gives UM a group of talented runners with different styles.  I'm  just not sure that Fred Jackson is the right coach.  Let's face it the main running that we've had in the last two years is Denard.  We already have talent with Hayes and Rawls but Jackson hasn't helped them develope like they should. At least get someone like Mike Hart from Eastern to help with the running backs.



January 27th, 2013 at 2:31 PM ^

the right coach for Tyronne Wheatley, Tim Biakabutuka, Justin Fargas, Anthony Thomas, Chris Perry, and Mike Hart, Chris Howard, Chris Lloyd, and B.J. Askew.  If you want just a bit more cred, Jackson also coached Rick Leach at Flint Southwestern.

Now then, if Fred Jackson coached those young men, and many many more, with little complaint from the cheap seats, why shouldn't he be able to coach Derrick Green?


January 27th, 2013 at 4:56 PM ^

Jumping to a few conclusions eh?  Jackson can't make someone better than they are and he has to work with the talent he has or has been allowed to take (remember, many of the backs now would not have been recruited under RR)   When did Mike Hart suddenly have a incredible coaching resume' ?  He's helped with a position for two seasons.....


January 27th, 2013 at 4:56 PM ^

Jumping to a few conclusions eh?  Jackson can't make someone better than they are and he has to work with the talent he has or has been allowed to take (remember, many of the backs now would not have been recruited under RR)   When did Mike Hart suddenly have a incredible coaching resume' ?  He's helped with a position for two seasons.....


January 28th, 2013 at 5:40 AM ^

"We already have talent with Hayes and Rawls but Jackson hasn't helped them develope like they should."

It seems odd you would say this about Hayes and Rawls, neither of whom was particularly well regarded coming out of high school.  Hayes was widely considered a 4-star prospect, but he was thought to be more of a spread back and he really lacks any ability to break tackles.  Rawls was the #77 back to Scout and unranked at his position by Rivals.

So what you're saying is that Fred Jackson has failed to develop the #77 back in the country, and he has also failed to develop a guy who's buried on the bench BEHIND the #77 back in the country.  Maybe they're not as talented as you think.


January 27th, 2013 at 2:31 PM ^

Huuuuuge pickup considering what else we're going to put on the field next year. As good as the gurus have him rated, I have to see it transition into the next level. Not going to be disappointed again as I was with Grady. That said, I am unable to stop the mental pictures of him taking the handoff, blasting thru the line and using that vision to rumble for 4-6ypc.Looking forward to many, many 2nd and less than 5 to goes.If he lives up to the hype, the combination of Gardner/Green and a re-loaded O-Line could be lethal come mid-season. 

b(s)ucknut fans------"By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked,this way comes.";-) 



January 28th, 2013 at 2:11 PM ^

You not only made a great college football decision, but you made the best life decision by choosing Ann Arbor. Congrats on the choice and I'm very excited for you to start ripping up college football next year!!!!