A History of #1 Tailbacks (via touchthebanner)

Submitted by Eye of the Tiger on January 27th, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Magnus has a nice rundown of the #1 tailback recruits (as per rivals) since 2002. He concludes that Derrick Green is most likely to fit the Beanie Wells mold. I'll take that!


Mr. Yost

January 27th, 2013 at 12:02 PM ^

It's too hard to predict. Green is coming in with the #1 OL class in the country, how does that impact his success? What about having Hoke vs. another coach?



January 27th, 2013 at 12:14 PM ^

For the most part, it seems to be a case of "hit or miss," with more of the #1 backs hitting than missing.  I think Beanie Wells is a very good comparison here.  If Green's skills translate fully to the college level, I think he could remind us of Chris Perry with an "extra step" of speed.



January 27th, 2013 at 12:16 PM ^

I was surprised to see there isn't really a bust on that whole list.  I guess Scott is the closest, but he had a decent season at USF (2nd team all-Big East) before stupidly going pro early. 

Knock on wood and everything, but that list is pretty damn encouraging, especially if Green can share the load with Fitz, Smith, etc. over the next few years.

Perkis-Size Me

January 27th, 2013 at 12:31 PM ^

I'd personally like a Trent Richardson mold, but since that man is a once in a generation combination of elite athleticism, great speed, and absolute brute, punishing strength, I'd take the fit of a Beanie Wells mold as well.

Darth Wolverine

January 27th, 2013 at 12:33 PM ^

I'm still amazed with buckeye fans' responses (actually, now that I think about it, I'm not). On blogs and forums everywhere, they're claiming that "Urbz" stopped recruiting Green because he didn't want him.



January 27th, 2013 at 12:45 PM ^

I think there's some truth to that. They only have so many scholarships and are still facing a minor scholarship reduction due to sanctions. Not that they didn't want him, but they got a big back last year (Dunn), and they don't need as many big backs as they used to. They also have a prototypical spread back committed (Elliot). They just had other needs that needed to be addressed. Kind of how we stopped recruiting Pocic. We definitely wanted him, but we took other guys we liked and then had other needs that needed to be addressed. Doesn't mean he was all of a sudden evaluated as a bad player, or that the coaches 'passed' on him.

Avant's Hands

January 27th, 2013 at 12:37 PM ^

I know that most of them only played three years, but I was surprised to see that Mike Hart matches up pretty darn well with these guys. Really, only Peterson and Bush would have passed Hart in their senior seasons unless a couple of the other guys went off. Just makes you really appreciate what he did even more as 3 star guy out of a small HS.

Hopefully Green reminds us all what it's like to have that great overall back. As much as I like the Beanie Wells comparison, is there a Michigan back he is similar to? A-Train, but fast? Perry, but plays all four years like Perry's senior year?


January 27th, 2013 at 12:44 PM ^

A-Train was fast, so the comparison should probably just be "A-Train."  And we don't know how long it will take Green to produce in college, so predicting he'll have four years like Perry's senior season is going waaaay too far.   Perry was the Doak winner his senior year, so if Green has one year like Perry's senior year, I'll be thrilled.


January 27th, 2013 at 1:03 PM ^

That the jersey number 27 at Michigan is relatively short on recent memorable players: Brandon Harrison, vada Murray and current cass tech pipeline faucet Thomas wilcher.

Assuming he gets it.


January 27th, 2013 at 1:29 PM ^

Very informative breakdown, and thanks for sharing this. 

I found it interesting that the averages calculated, if Green met that benchmark, would already put him in some decently rarified air in a few categories as it is. That gives me some reason to  be even more excited than I already was actually. Indeed, it really would not take much more in the way of average production - if Green hangs around all four years - to make him consistently Top 15 among Michigan RBs in each category. It comes out to about 18 more carries a year and only about 30 or so more yards with one extra TD per year and he's #15 for those categories potentially. It is very exciting to think about the possibilities here as other pieces of the offense fall into place as well. 



January 27th, 2013 at 1:32 PM ^

Magnus' breackdown. It was MGoBlog Diary worthy. What I want to know is the following:

Magus, can you comment on his balance, vision, yac, making the first guy miss, breaking tackles?

What would you say he needs to add to his game to make him a complete running back?


January 27th, 2013 at 1:49 PM ^

His balance has improved since his junior year, and I think he's learned to make people miss a little bit more.  There are times in his junior film where he just runs straight ahead into guys, when there are clearly alleys to run to avoid contact.  I think he's shifty enough to make defensive linemen miss, and he can make second-level defenders miss ENOUGH to break their tackles.  He won't leave people flailing at air, but he can force them into arm tackles that won't do much good against a guy who's so powerfully built.

I don't really know how good of a blocker Green is, since that type of thing isn't shown on film much.  He does need to get better at catching the ball out of the backfield.  I also think he needs to run more powerfully; sometimes he slows down for contact rather than lowering his shoulders and running through guys at full speed.  He doesn't break as many tackles as he should for someone his size, but he's still better than the vast majority of high school backs.


January 27th, 2013 at 1:46 PM ^

I'm just as excited about Derrick Green as the next guy, but I don't think there is a meaningful talent gap between him and Deveon Smith.  I'm no high falutin' football tape analyzin' dude, but I have a really hard time comparing tape from the two backs and definitively concluding that Green is by far the better back, as most scouts have.  I know Green supposedly has another gear, but to me they both look like power backs that lack a little bit of extra oomf to outrun people in the secondary.  I really think both will see extended playing time, and it will be nice to be able to bring the thunder and then counter-balance that with... more, less tired thunder.  


January 27th, 2013 at 2:18 PM ^

Looking at the highlight tapes for both of them, I would've believed that this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLMuUkyRz44 was Darrick Green, too. The tape that I see here seems to suggest that Smith is actually the slightly better lateral back, which is a valuable skill to have; Green doesn't seem to do much more than run straight ahead, through people using his incredible streangth (note: novice film study in the previous paragraph).


I wouldn't be surprised to see Smith win the starting job over Green, or Green over Smith. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a season where the two of them rushed for a thousand yards each. Having two top-flight backs like this in our system is a huge boon, and should be a topic of great joy. Two guys who can work against each other to get better every year is hopefully just what the doctor ordered for some manball.