Country's top high school tailback, Derrick Green, tabs Michigan as leader
Michigan is expected to have an open competition for tailback duties next year.
And a new face could join the mix: The nation's No. 1-ranked high school tailback, according to Rivals.
Richmond (Va.) Hermitage's Derrick Green has long considered the Wolverines to be among his leaders, and affirmed Wednesday in a chat with Rivals that, in fact, they are his current leader.
"Yeah, they are still the leader," he said in the chat.
Then, making things interesting, Green clarified it was "a small lead," and that he plans to announce a decision sometime early this month.
"That school has not had any coaching changes, it is a top academic program, definitely a high chance to come out as a true freshman and playing, and I have a good relationship with the coaching staff," Green wrote.
Early playing time often is an enticement for top-level recruits, and Michigan could offer it.
The Wolverines' tailbacks combined for just 205 carries for 839 yards this season. That's easily the worst production in the Big Ten, and it was the worst per-game average at the school in recorded history.
Starter Fitz Toussaint had 1,041 himself in 2011, but struggled to 514 this past season, then suffered a major leg injury late in the season against Iowa and his status for next year is uncertain.
Denard Robinson was the only tailback to rush for 100 yards in a game this season, despite playing the position in only three games. But his career is over.
Junior-to-be Thomas Rawls, sophomore-to-be Justice Hayes, redshirt-freshman-to-be Drake Johnson and Toussaint are expected to be the leaders for the job, but none was consistently productive this year.
That's where a guy such as Green comes in.
At 6-foot, 220 pounds, he is the kind of physical runner that Michigan is seeking as it transitions to more of a pro-style offense with a power-run game. But he also registered a 4.36-second 40-yard dash time Wednesday at the Army All-American Bowl, flashing better speed than Rawls, the Wolverines' other bruising back.
"I compare my running style to a combination of Bo Jackson, Herschel Walker and Trent Richardson," Green said in the Rivals chat.
Green said his other leaders are Auburn, Tennessee, Florida State, Miami (Fla.) and possibly USC.
Among them, with which coach does Green have the best relationship?
"I would say right now it would definitely be Coach Hoke," Green said.
Michigan has a major need at tailback. Green has major interest in Michigan, although still has an eye on other schools.
He won't make his decision until later in the month, and signing day isn't until Feb. 6.
The next few weeks should get interesting.
Check out Green's full comments with Rivals by clicking here.
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