Wednesday, August 21, 2013

2013 Season Countdown: #8 Fitzgerald Toussaint

Fitzgerald Toussaint
Name: Fitzgerald Toussaint
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 210 lbs.
High school: Youngstown (OH) Liberty
Position: Running back
Class: Redshirt senior
Jersey number: #28
Last year: I ranked Toussaint #4 and said he would be the starting running back with 1,020 yards and 10 touchdowns. He had 130 carries for 514 yards and 5 touchdowns, plus 6 catches for 62 yards and 1 touchdown.

Last year was supposed to be a dominant year for Michigan's running game with Denard Robinson, Toussaint, three redshirt senior interior linemen, and two solid bookend tackles. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out that way. Robinson ran the ball well, as always, but injured his elbow against Nebraska; Toussaint struggled mightily and then suffered a gruesome broken ankle against Iowa; and that interior offensive line was less than stellar. That last item, along with what looked like a loss of a little quickness on Toussaint's part, dropped him from 5.6 yards/carry in 2011 to just 4.0 in 2012. Between being suspended for the season opener against Alabama, struggling on the field, and then the nasty injury, it was a pretty forgettable season for him. Then he missed spring practices while recovering.

This August, practice reports are saying that Toussaint looks like the 2011 version. Reports from practice are often lies, but he has looked good in the limited number of practice clips posted on the internet. The interior of the offensive line will probably struggle once again, since it's bound to be some combination of redshirt sophomores and redshirt freshmen who haven't played much before. I don't know what to expect from Toussaint this year, coming off the injury and running behind a mostly inexperienced line. He's been injured for large chunks of every season except 2011, and he has a number of backups vying for playing time. I think Toussaint is the best of the bunch right now, but with last year's primary backups combined with a couple touted true freshmen, Michigan should be able to roll out a decent alternative or two.

Prediction: Starting running back; 200 carries, 900 yards, 10 touchdowns


  1. 4.5 ypc -- bleh. I really hope that he is better than that.

    1. I think a lot depends on his offensive line.

  2. Toussaint seem like he's probably the highest-variance player on Michigan offense in 2013, which is unusual for a senior who's played a lot. I think 900 yards is a good over/under for him.

  3. RBs are overrated, but I think this is a good spot for Fitz. He's the most skilled back we have right now, as indicated by him winning the job so emphatically. For all the hype the freshman got (freshman always get hype) Fitz is the guy that's going to make plays for this offense if anyone is. The other guys are slower and less elusive.

    That said - we saw what happens to Fitz if the line doesn't block for him. I don't know if the line will be better at run blocking this year, and I don't know if the run game will be harder or easier without Denard around. Regardless, if the run game is to improve (or even match) last year Fitz is going to be the guy that will lead the way.

    Let's hope he can stay healthy and line opens holes for him.