Saturday, January 26, 2013

Derrick Green, Wolverine

Richmond (VA) Hermitage running back
Derrick Green at his announcement
(image via 247 Sports)
Richmond (VA) Hermitage running back Derrick Green committed to Michigan on Saturday.  He chose the Wolverines over offers from just about everyone in the country, and the other two finalists were Auburn and Tennessee.

Green is 6'0" and 220 lbs.  As a senior in 2012, he had 185 carries for 1,285 yards and 20 touchdowns.  As a junior, he had 1,493 yards and 20 touchdowns.  In his sophomore season, he had 800 yards and 10 touchdowns.  He claims a 4.58 forty.

ESPN: 4-star RB, 85 grade, #5 RB, #38 overall
Rivals: 5-star RB, #1 RB, #8 overall
Scout: 5-star RB, #1 RB, #6 overall
247 Sports: 4-star RB, 95 grade, #8 RB, #84 overall

Green was offered last February when Michigan went on a spree of offering running backs.  At the beginning of his recruitment, Michigan did not seem to be a serious option.  He was considering a long list of places, most of them down south; other than Ohio State in the north, he was looking at Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, and a few other places.  The longer Green's recruitment lasted, however, things started to fall into place for Michigan.  He always maintained a desire to play in a pro-style offense, and the hiring of Gus Malzahn at Auburn and Butch Jones at Tennessee didn't really align with Green's desires.  He also wanted a chance to play early, and with no established starter at Michigan (incumbent Fitzgerald Toussaint is coming off a nasty leg injury and has just one year left), the opportunity will be there immediately.

I have had my eye on Green for a long time.  Aside from watching his highlights, I had a chance to see him in person last May in a 7-on-7 tournament.  I put together a scouting report on him prior to his senior season, and that interpretation largely holds true still, but I will say that his senior highlights showed significant improvement.  One of the things that I may have underestimated was the fact that Green was 260-270 lbs. early in high school and decided to shed the weight in order to play running back.  I think losing that weight and increasing his agility may have been - or may be - a long process that wasn't completed by his junior year.  He's a lot shiftier in his senior highlights and seems to have a better understanding of how to make people miss.  Green is still a north-south runner and won't ever be Barry Sanders, but there's a little more lightning to his thunder now.

While I don't think Derrick Green is the best running back in the country like Rivals and Scout do, I think he's one of the top three to five backs in the nation.  With the offensive line Michigan is building in the 2012 and 2013 classes, he should have plenty of room to run.  A 6'0", 220 lb. running back with his acceleration should be able to wear down second- and third-level defenders, making it quite a grind for opposing defenses.  Depending on how quickly Toussaint heals from his leg injury, Green could very well be the starting running back for the Wolverines on opening day 2013.  In my opinion, he is already better than the other running backs on the roster, save perhaps a healthy Toussaint; and I also think Green is superior to fellow 2013 commits Deveon Smith and Wyatt Shallman.

Green is Michigan's 27th commitment in the 2013 class and the third running back.  The Wolverines may be done recruiting in this class, but I expect that we'll see another scholarship offer or two here in the last couple weeks to try to sway a player already committed elsewhere, somewhat like what happened with Dennis Norfleet last year.

TTB Rating: 92


  1. Glad to hear he's improved. I'm really rooting for Toussaint considering he's a senior with a little girl to take care of, but it's good to know we have some insurance in case he can't come back.

  2. Hey Magnus, when are you planning to do the senior year ratings for the 2013 class? I really respect the way you think these guys are gonna end up at the college level.

  3. No quantitative assessment? (out of 100?)

  4. No grade? Would I be safe to guess 90's to high 80's?

  5. No quantitative assessment (out of 100)?

  6. I just watch his film for the last two years. It almost looks like a different running back his senior season. Huge improvement. The 4.58 speed looks about right. He's fast, but doesn't pull away from DBs. Great pick-up and maybe the best power back in the country.

  7. What I also love about Green, and you mention it briefly in the post, is his attitude. He slimmed down from 260-70 to 220 through hard work and determination. Watching his improvement from last season, that's the kind of dedication (to match the talent) it takes to get to the next level. Plus running behind a death star offensive line at M can't hurt.

  8. Magnus, who makes up your top 3 (or more) RBs in this class?

    1. I haven't watched all the top prospects in depth, but a couple guys I like more are Altee Tenpenny and Keith Ford. I also like Alvin Kamara, but he's a different kind of back.