Fitz: 2012 Heisman candidate?

Submitted by sheepdog on December 15th, 2011 at 1:44 PM

Admittedly, I don’t usually care for Michael Rothstein’s writing, but he throws out the opportunity that Fitz could be a Heisman candidate as early as next year, which I like.  Fitz ran for 1000+ yards in basically 10 games so far.  DNP against ND and only two carries against MSU.  He is obviously the feature back and it looks like he could consistently see 20-25 carries per game next year.  If he averages, say 22.5 carries per game at this year’s YPC (5.8), he would end up with 1696 yards (13 games).

I have never thought of Fitz being THAT good, but he was seriously impressive from Purdue through the end of season.  Here are some recent Heisman contender/winner RB stats:

2011 T Richardson: 1583 yards/20 TD/6.0 YPC

2011 M Ball: 1759 yards/32 TD/ 6.4 YPC

2010 L James: 1731 yards/21 TD/5.9 YPC

2009 M Ingram: 1658 yards/17 TD/6.1 YPC

2009 T Gerhart: 1871 yards/27 TD/5.5 YDC

My first thought was that it might be more realistic for Fitz’s senior year when Denard isn’t there to take away carries and yards.  But, DRob may be part of the reason Fitz is cashing in.  Regardless, we currently have a potential GREAT back at Michigan.

MGoCommunity thoughts?

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Space Coyote

December 15th, 2011 at 4:25 PM ^

You would probably lose a lot of money with those odds.  5-1 to win the Heisman is really high.  Andrew Luck was the outright leader at the start of the season and he was something like 5 - 1 and no offense to Denard, but he threw a lot of picks and isn't anywhere near the frontrunner as Luck.  And having a second person at 12-1 is crazy.  I would love if those odds matched reality, but I don't think they do.


December 15th, 2011 at 1:49 PM ^

Same problem as Montee Ball + Russell Wilson. Denard and Fitz will both be too individually great next year for either to get the credit they deserve.


December 15th, 2011 at 2:11 PM ^

I would argue Fitz can easily be a top 3 B1G back next year?  Why shouldn't he be, a Junior RB, seeing the bulk of the carries.. look for him to get more comfortable and confident and less designed QB runs to be called for Denard. He too will get comfortable in his 2nd year in the system and his rush yard will come from scrambles, as we have seen.

Space Coyote

December 15th, 2011 at 4:37 PM ^

He can be a top 3 back, but it won't be easy by any means and depends greatly on who is coming back.  Ball (Wisc, Jr), Coker (Iowa, So), Burkhead (Neb., Jr), Redd (PSU, So) are all ahead of Fitz and Denard at the moment.  

I think Ball is gone and the rest are coming back.  And Ball gets replaced by White (averaged 5.1 ypc this year, and 6.7 for 1052 yards in 2010).  Then you have situations like Bell (MSU, So) who didn't start getting a lot of touches until later either, and averaged 5.5 (900 total and compared to Fitz' 5.8) and had 11 TDs (to Fitz' 8) and Houston (Ind, So) who averaged 5.3 ypc and didn't get more than 9 carries in their first 4 games.

There are a lot of good backs in the Big Ten, and Fitz can be a top 3 back.  He could also be a top 7 back.  Either way, there is no way to justify anyone, outside of Ball returning, to be easily a top 3 back in the Big Ten.


December 15th, 2011 at 1:55 PM ^

Point the first: anyone who talks about the Heisman before mid-October next fall should be shot.  Coincidentally, suddenly college football journalism would improve infinitely.

Point the second: Denard is too well known nationally for anyone else on the team to win it.


December 15th, 2011 at 2:09 PM ^

I really think that will be his biggest problem.  Robinson is one of the most exciting and noticeable players in the NCAA.  I don't know if he will be able to get out his shadow.  That being said do you guys actually think that Fitz will stay till his Senior year.  I mean he is already eligible for the Draft (RS Soph).  I just have really strong doubts that he would stay that long as RBs have very few carrys in them.  I feel like he would want to get as many carrys in the NFL as possible.


December 15th, 2011 at 2:10 PM ^

If Fitz has a good year in 2012, he's gone to the NFL. He's already been here 3 years, and with the short shelf life of runningbacks, it's hard to see him stay 5 years in the Big 10. 


December 15th, 2011 at 2:24 PM ^

Yeah but it hasn't been 3 years of 250 touches a year. He was redshirted first, and last year he didn't see the playing field due to freak injuries that aren't really RB related (his knee issue was only 3 games). I don't think it's a streak to see him around in 2013


December 15th, 2011 at 2:13 PM ^


Fitz did arrive at Michigan as a VERY highly touted RB.

He was selected as the nation's 95th-best prospect by Tom Lemming; four-star prospect and the No. 8 all-purpose back nationally according to; selected as the 14th-best player in the state of Ohio and the 239th overall prospect nationally according to; rated the 28th-best player nationally by; listed as the No. 61 overall prospect in the Midwest by SuperPrep; listed as the No. 21 running back in the country according to Scouts, Inc. etc. etc.


December 15th, 2011 at 2:53 PM ^

We could have conceivably had two 1,500 rushers this year, so it's not out of the question for us to have one next year. If Fitz and Denard weren't in a transitional offense, that is if they had maintained their peak averages, run a consistant scheme throughout the season, and maintained 20+ carries per game, then Fitz would have had at least 80 more carries, and Denard would have had around 50+ more carries this year. It's concievable that playing with the additional carries (and featuring at all in 2 entire games) that Fitz could have achieved 489 additional yards and broken the 1500 mark. He averaged 5.8 for the season, 80 additional carries alone at 5.8 would make 464 yards. Denard was even closer to 1500 being just 337 yards shy. With just his average of 5.6 he would have averaged 280 yards out of 50 more touches. 


December 15th, 2011 at 4:57 PM ^

Fitz averaged 22.4 carries at 6.05 yards per carry for most of  the B1G schedule (after the MSU game where he sat out) The only reason his season averages are less is because he was splitting carries with Shaw and Smith early in the year.


December 15th, 2011 at 3:30 PM ^

This decade. Denard wins 1 year, Fitz the next. Of course, Denard won't be there when Fitz wins and Denard won't be taking ballet and Fotz won't be getting paid by an agent.

Bo is God

December 15th, 2011 at 4:16 PM ^

I look forward to three things in the next two years:

1. Fitz thrashing the Sparty D and V. Smith pointing his guns at Narduzzi
2. The Big Blue D stuffing and crushing Dee Hart
3. Brionte Dunn being lit up by( insert safety or linebacker) each time he touches the ball.

I now add a fourth.....Fitz raising the Heisman with Woodson and Desmond flanking him. Looks so good. Cannot wait until January 3rd.

Go Blue!


December 15th, 2011 at 4:26 PM ^

Probably not, because I think the consensus is that Denard is the top player on the team.  I do think Denard, with a good bowl game, could be a preseason candidate.


December 15th, 2011 at 4:35 PM ^

This is not going to happen, so many things need to go right for him namely; not get hurt.  As we all know his first couple years were he was bit by the injury bug early and often, the last 6 games saw him nary a scratch doubtful it will happen again.