Hello: Hassan Haskins Comment Count

Ace November 6th, 2017 at 2:06 PM

Hi, I'm not dead yet. The doctor situation and ensuing medical situation that I took time off to deal with last week is slowly but surely getting resolved. I may discuss it at a later date; I may not—I'm learning to let this stuff play all the way out before putting it out there. As always, thank you to Brian for being so understanding as I deal with this, to Seth and Adam and Alex for covering for me, and to all of you for your support. I'm catching up this week; I've got this post today, GIFs tomorrow, and long-overdue basketball preview content the rest of the week. — Ace

Last week, shortly following a Michigan offer and official visit for the Rutgers game, three-star Eureka (MO) running back Hassan Haskins committed to the Wolverines.

This looked inevitable from the moment Michigan offered; they were easily the best program to extend one to Haskins, who's impressed scouts with a very productive senior season thus far. This is how he celebrated his commitment, per Scout's 247's Allen Trieu:

Recent Michigan commit Hassan Haskins rushed for 159 yards and two touchdowns and scored on a fumble return on defense to help his Eureka (Mo.) team defeat Lindbergh on Friday. Haskins, a senior running back, has now surpassed 2,000 yards in his senior campaign.

While Haskins wasn't on the radar of most big-time programs, you can expect his rankings to start catching up to his production. He's the second running back in Michigan's 2018 class, joining Christian Turner, and the 15th commitment overall.


Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
3*, #110 RB 2* RB 3*, 75, #51 RB 3*, #83 RB,
#1312 Ovr
3*, #86 RB,
#1389 Ovr

As you can see, the rankings have some catching up to do. While Haskins isn't a superlative athlete, which is going to cap his ceiling, he's almost certainly better than, say, the cursory two-star rating thrown out there by Rivals. The film shows a player who should at least be solidly in the three-star range.

There's some disparity in the height/weight listings. 247 and ESPN list Haskins at 6'0", 205 pounds; Rivals thinks he's a little lankier at 6'2", 195.

[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and the rest.]


The first scouting report I could find on Haskins sums up the current scouting take on him rather well. Rivals's Josh Helmholdt saw him go bananas in his first varsity start as a sophomore; he also came away with a pressing question:

Haskins made a statement in his first varsity game, carrying 39 times for 254 yards. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound sophomore is a bruising runner with excellent balance. Whether he has the top-end speed to be a high FBS prospect is the question.

And... that's all anybody published on Haskins until this fall, which is a bit surprising considering he rushed for over 1500 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior. Helmholdt circled back around two years after his initial look, naming Haskins one of the Midwest prospects who'd boosted his stock midway through the season:

I “discovered” Haskins two years ago when I was in St. Louis covering other prospects and he happened to be on the opposing team. What caught my eye - besides his 254 rushing yards on what was supposed to be a good defense - was Haskins' punishing running style despite being just a sophomore. I questioned, however, whether he would develop the speed and agility necessary to be a Power Five recruit. Early season film, though, shows excellent progress in those categories. 

I'm guessing Rivals will give Haskins a bump in the rankings in their next update.

Everything else comes from after Haskins's commitment, so you can all thank me for taking a week off now. Allen Trieu believes concerns about his athleticism are overblown:

Haskins is a big back. He runs with every bit of his size too. He is a tough, between the tackles runner with excellent balance. A taller back, he is able to get compact and knows how to take on contact. He does not go down easily and rarely on first contact. Some Michigan fans have raised concern about his 40 time, but the kid shows burst, and for a big back, shows niftiness in the hole and ability to slash and change direction. At this point, we do not know a ton about him as a blocker or pass receiver. He is physical as a runner and on his defensive film, so we can glean from that that blocking likely will come naturally to him. His ability to break tackles may be the first thing people talk about, but his change of direction is an underrated part of his game.

Helmholdt added some superlatives when giving an updating scouting report:

"Haskins is a late bloomer, but what he has always been a good high school football player," Helmholdt said. "It is only recently that he has matured into a Power Five caliber football prospect with the development of some physical tools; particularly greater quickness and agility. The balance, the vision, the toughness and the football IQ were there when I first saw Hassan play live more than two years ago."

His coach, meanwhile, provided a detailed outlook on Haskins's physical development to The Wolverine's Brandon Brown:

"Something that he can continue to get better at is his speed. That’s been part of the issue with him I think. He runs a 4.7 40-yard dash and that’s something he can improve on. His top end speed can get better and I know he’ll work on that," Sumner said. "He’s a three-sport guy so he’s never really focused on that. He does football, basketball and he also took second in the state last year in the high jump jumping 6-6. We train, and he does stuff throughout the summer, but he’s also taking care of his body and not overdoing it. I think once he gets to Michigan and just dials in to football, his top end is going to be extremely high.

"He has a special frame and has a lot of room to put weigh ton. He’s 210 pounds right now but his upper body can easily hold another 20 pounds. He can be 230 and will still be the same speed and he’ll still be able to do everything he does right now. I think his running style is perfect for what his body will be. His lower half is absolutely rock solid but his upper body does need to catch up."

That's almost certainly what Michigan's coaches foresee: a burly, between-the-tackles bruiser. His athletic upside may not be as limited as his current 40 time suggests, either. Helmholdt broke out an intriguing stylistic comparison given the last few weeks:

Player: RB Karan Higdon

Recruit: Hassan Haskins, Eureka, Mo.

Comparison: Michigan fans wondering what they are getting in their new running back commit need look no further than their current leading rusher. Higdon has broken out this season as the Wolverines' top ball carrier in a multi-back rotation showing the toughness to run between the tackles and the quickness to hit the edge. Haskins’ running style is very similar and he does it in a bigger frame.

Sounds good to me.


If Haskins pans out, he'll be chalked up as a huge scouting win for this staff. Purdue is the only other Power Five school to offer, and they actually backed off after picking up a couple three-star backs over the summer. The rest of the list: Eastern Michgian, Illinois State, Indiana State, Memphis, Missouri State, Ohio, and Western Kentucky. Iowa and Mizzou gave him a look but have not extended offers.


One of the reasons Haskins has flown under the radar may be the prominence of his school. According to the Rivals database, Eureka has only produced three FBS signees since 2002, and even that trio was an outlier—all three signed with Mizzou in the 2003 class.


Via Scout:

Haskins was a standout since his sophomore season at Eureka High. He rushed for 745 yards and 7 touchdowns in just his first four games. He ran for 1,509 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior. ... He currently has 1,901 yards and 29 touchdowns as a senior.


Haskins's much-discussed 40 time is listed at 4.74 seconds on his ESPN page. I believe that's a combine time, which would merit zero FAKEs out of five. As said above, Haskins certainly isn't a burner, but he's also not a plodding back, either.


While Haskins is still playing out his senior season, there are several single-game reels from this fall on his Hudl page, and they're worth a look to see his progression. Here's the aforementioned 159-yard post-commitment outburst against Lindbergh:

The first run on this reel, from a three-TD game against Pattonville, gives you an idea of his power:

Full junior highlights:

Sophomore highlights, more single-game reels, and some hoops highlights can be found on his Hudl page.


Haskins, along with Christian Turner, will have a crowded depth chart when he arrives on campus. Assuming no unexpected attrition, some combination of Karan Higdon, Chris Evans, Kareem Walker, O'Maury Samuels, and Kurt Taylor will form a committee next year, leaving little opportunity for a true freshman to get snaps unless one of them really outperforms expectations.

That likely means a redshirt, though you never know with this coaching staff. (Samuels recently burned his.) There'll be more opportinities the following year when Higdon's carries will need to be replaced; that's when there's a decent shot at being part of the committee, and that opportunity grows the following year when Evans will also have exhausted his eligibility.

Haskins could carve out a role for himself earlier as a short-yardage back, especially if he gets into that 220-230 pound range early on in his career. Beyond that, it's all about his ability to maintain his current athleticism while packing on muscle.


Michigan is up to 15 commits in a class that should reach the low 20s. Haskins closes the book on running back recruiting for this year. The most pressing needs going forward are at DT and WDE; they'll also look to add quality recruits at WR, TE, OT, OG, and S if the right prospects want to join up.

Here's the class as it currently stands:



November 6th, 2017 at 2:47 PM ^

Two comparisons I've heard now are "Karan Higdon" and an early "Le'Veon Bell" as comparables (the pre-future-NFL-Hall-of-Fame Bell). With those comparables being thrown out, I would think that the idea would be to see what the kid's got before throwing him in as a FB. The kid apparently has the potential to be a really good college RB, so you definitely want to give him his shot. Definite FB up-side if he doesn't pass as a RB, but I'm not going to assume that until I see it. Excited to see what he can do at RB. Those are some crazy stats he's putting up. And the fact that he placed that well in the HIGH JUMP as a "bruiser" shows that he has to have really good athleticism - I think the speed will definitely improve.


November 6th, 2017 at 3:44 PM ^

definitely a TB. Kid looks good, Rivals has not even looked at tape of this kid if they think he is a 2 star.  He has good vision and quick feet. Runs with very good pad level, through the line but keeps his weight over his feet. No false steps to start and sets up his blocks nicely.

Definitely not a burner, but they can improve his speed. I think he will be a very good back in college.


November 7th, 2017 at 8:13 AM ^

Like this kid a lot. He will run through and away from most LBs and punish every DB and S. It's been a while since Michigan has had a back like this. The 6'6" high jump is an excellent indicator of the athletic potential this kid holds. 


November 6th, 2017 at 2:32 PM ^

Is it absurd to think he enters the draft if he finishes the season strong? Rising stock, position that has a short shelf life, etc. Obviously want him back, but if he puts up 100+ yard games on a big stage against UW, OSU and in the bowl game, he could leave.


November 6th, 2017 at 3:10 PM ^

But this coming NFL draft class will (probably) be well-stocked at RB:

  • Saquon Barkley
  • Derrius Guice
  • Ronald Jones
  • Royce Freeman
  • Nick Chubb
  • Sony Michel
  • Bryce Love
  • Damien Harris
  • Bo Scarbrough
  • John Kelly
  • Akrum Wadley
  • Justin Jackson
  • LJ Scott
  • Rashaad Penny

I mean, you can make an argument that this RB class could be even better than last year's class... If Higdon were to enter, he'd probably be a Day 3 pick. 


Shop Smart Sho…

November 6th, 2017 at 2:32 PM ^

Unless a guy is an NFL-level athelte, I'd say being able to high jump 6' 6" is more impressive than a 4.5 40. The explosive muscle needed for the high jump is going to translate really well to a run game that wants to stay between the tackles. Sure, it would be nice if he could outrun safeties, but being able to power over a line backer is probably more important.


November 7th, 2017 at 7:55 AM ^

Nailed it. Period. The next time Isaac finishes off a run will be the first. He assumes the fetal position at the slightest indication of pending contact...pretty strange for as big, fast and otherwise talented he is. 

OTOH, there is hope. OMG, Evans was not that much better in this regard...Saturday he was pounding through major contact. A couple times I was sure it was Higdon running...til I saw a 1 in front of the 2. 

Occam's Razor

November 6th, 2017 at 2:39 PM ^

Anyone else think the coaches are taking fliers this year to go for the home run hitters for 2019? (goes without mentioning the log jam at the top of the rotation for next year) 

From what I've seen Quavaris Crouch is interested in Michigan and Partridge is his main recruiter, so you know we're being aggressive. 

panthera leo fututio

November 6th, 2017 at 2:45 PM ^

With respect to running style, Haskins seems more Ty Isaac than Higdon to me -- a big, tall back with an upright running style, shifty with good balance but without a really insane burst through the hole.


November 6th, 2017 at 2:52 PM ^

Sucks being "young" and feeling constantly unhealthy/sick. I have been dealing with my own long-term health struggles despite being in my early 30's (which I think I have learned were mostly stimulated by stress). Hope you crack this, man. Don't be afraid to seek help outside the traditional doctor if needed and not finding treatment that fully corrects your problems. Not 100% sure your health issues apply to that, but I'm starting to look for outside help and feeling more optimistic about cracking this by the day. Hang in there man! 

Ron Utah

November 6th, 2017 at 3:28 PM ^

So much hand-wringing over the long speed. Watch Haskins’ senior tape and tell me he doesn’t cut faster than Ty Isaac.

Bell ran a 4.6 at the NFL combine. That was after college strength training and the ridiculous training and focus on technique before the combine. I cut 0.20 off of my forty in college—Haskins will get faster, but speed is overrated. Vision, power, change of direction, and acceleration are all more important than top speed.

Our all-time leading rusher ran a 4.77 at the combine. Maybe Haskins isn’t destined for NFL greatness, but he can be plenty good in college with his athleticism.


November 6th, 2017 at 3:55 PM ^

He looks like a big guy with a little wiggle; you can do worse than that in this offense.  And I could also see him maybe moving around a bit with some positional flexibility.  I don't know his HS team, but he's about the same size and speed of McCray when he came to Michigan, so it wouldn't be crazy to see him flip the field if the backfield fills up.


November 6th, 2017 at 4:03 PM ^

I love having guys like Higdon and Evans who can outrun everyone.  But really, the most important trait of an RB is someone who can avoid negative runs and pick up around 4 YPC and never fumble.  AKA Mike Hart.  Hart was never that fast, yet he was one of the best backs we've ever had.

If this kid can run with balance and power, and get positive yards on most plays, he can be an asset, even if he isn't a threat to take it for a TD on every carry. 

matty blue

November 6th, 2017 at 4:11 PM ^

...not because i don't care about recruiting.  just glad to hear your health issues have somewhat stabilized, ace. 

be well and take care of yourself first...this stuff doesn't matter..