It's official. After weeks of fevered anticipation, the number one running back (according to Rivals.com) has committed to play for Brady Hoke and the Michigan Wolverines. His name is Derrick Green.
The 6'0", 220 lbs. running back looks to fit perfectly in the downhill rushing attack that Michigan is still transitioning to in the next couple of seasons. Michigan currently has two other rushers in the 2013 class (Deveon Smith, and fullback Wyatt Shallman).
With Michigan's needs at tailback--Fitzgerald Toussaint recovering from injury after a significantly less productive season in 2012 and the backup running backs being equally unproductive--Green could see playing time as early as the upcoming 2013 season.
Michigan fans will have to wait, though. Green said that he doesn't plan to enroll early. He should be on campus by the fall.
Here's some of Green's highlight tape from Hermitage High School:
Also, Green's highlights from the U.S. Army All America game:
As you can see, Green has all the essentials of a traditional Michigan power running back. He bursts through the holes, sheds tackles, and hangs on to the ball nicely. He's even got some elite speed. There's a reason why he was given five stars, people.
Hermitage High School is in Virginia, where he was a standout player and ranks at the top of the All-State lists. Here's a little video to help you get to know his personality and background a little better:
Rivals: ***** (5 Stars), #1 RB, #8 Overall
Scout: ***** (5 Stars), #1 RB, #6 Overall
247Sports: **** (4 Stars), #8 RB, #64 Overall
ESPN: **** (4 Stars), #5 RB, #38 Overall
Consensus: Yeah, this kid is good. Rivals and Scout are the highest on him, and the Rivals ranking alone would spin many Michigan fans into a delirious, giddy frenzy. 247sports and ESPN don't quite think he's the best of the best, but they put him up there. 247sports in particular is notorious for limiting the number of fifth stars they dish out.
Green's surprising interest in Michigan never really came into full discussion until he nailed down his top five, whereas before he had a vague list of 20 without naming any favorites (that's how you do your recruitment right, FYI), and then it was like "Whoa, we actually have a chance with this guy?"
He also had an apparent connection with Michigan O-Line commit David Dawson. (Though I don't really understand how that works. Dawson's in Detroit; Green's in Virginia. What, are they playing each other in inter-state games? Someone will have to answer this for me. Ed: Maybe it was at the camps and combines.)
Offers: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, GT, Illinois, Miami (FL), Ole Miss, Mississippi State, North Carolina, NC State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Okie State, Oregon, Penn State, Pitt, Purdue, Rutgers, S-Car, Tennessee, UCLA, USC, Vandy, Virginia, Va Tech, Washington, Wazzu, WVU, Wisconsin
His decision came down to Michigan, Auburn, Tennessee, Miami, and USC as a distant fifth. Green's priorities were academics, coaching staff, and depth chart. Around the time of the U.S. Army All-America Bowl, where Green was a standout player, Michigan became the distant front-runner.
Final Thoughts: I really like Derrick Green. He has the chance to be the every-down, workhorse type back that Michigan desperately needs, and what's more, he can make an immediate impact as a true freshman. His recruitment gives a boost to an already-stellar 2013 class, which will almost certainly move up at least in the Top 5 (and possibly Top 3), as well as a shot in the arm to the coaches' confidence and the program's perception as Michigan heads into the spring.