|Derrick Green (image via The Wolverine)|
Weight: 240 lbs.
High school: Richmond (VA) Hermitage
Position: Running back
Jersey number: #27
Last year: Green was a senior in high school. He had 1,350 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns.
The battle for Derrick Green came down to Auburn, Tennessee, and Michigan after also strongly considering Ohio State, Oregon, and Virginia Tech, among others. He made his final decision late in the process, and there was much rejoicing! In January I did a study of Rivals' top-ranked tailbacks since the inception of the site in 2002, and the results were generally pleasing. The average top-rated back gets 429 carries, gains 2,442 yards, and scores 22 touchdowns. Green arrived on campus this summer and was immediately listed at 240 lbs., and there was much hand wringing! He was listed at 220 lbs. as a high schooler, but that was probably a lowball figure. He's barrel chested with some bulk in his lower body, so my guess is he was probably 230-235 lbs. as a senior and when he played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Redshirt senior Fitzgerald Toussaint is the favorite to win the starting job, which is expected since he has two years of starting under his belt. The battle for the backup job is the interesting one, because no returning player has established himself as a potential feature back. Junior Thomas Rawls has received the bulk of the backup carries, so it comes down to Rawls, Green, and possibly true freshman De'Veon Smith. My pick for the top backup is Green, and I think he'll be the heir apparent. Most backups wouldn't be ranked this high in the countdown, but Toussaint has been injured every year except his breakout 2011 season and was suspended for game one of 2012. Odds are that Green - or whoever is the #2 guy - gets at least a start or two. He also should get some looks in short yardage and on the goal line due to his size.
Prediction: Backup tailback; 100 carries, 500 yards, 6 touchdowns