One would think that the Michigan Wolverines would be resting on their laurels after securing the commitment of the sixth-best running back in the 2024 class — Jordan Marshall.
After all, the Archbishop Moeller tailback fits the mold of what running backs coach Mike Hart wants for his tailbacks. Twitchy and physical, Marshall will build upon the foundation laid by Hassan Haskins, Blake Corum, and Donovan Edwards. However, Michigan’s dominant running game hasn’t been epitomized by a singular tailback demolishing the opposition; two has been their lucky number. Running back duos were the calling card for Michigan in the historic 2021 and 2022 seasons. Thunder and lightning, lightning and lightning, whatever one wishes to call it, the Wolverines were most effective when they had two outstanding ballcarriers taking snaps.
With Marshall already in the fold, the Michigan coaching staff has the chance to transfer the formula for success on the field for the running game to the recruiting circuit. Michigan’s top 2024 recruiting class could have another game-breaking running back — Taylor Tatum.
Rated as the second-best running back and 33rd-best overall recruit in the 2024 class, Tatum is a multifaceted lethal weapon for just about any style of offense. In his junior season at Longview High in Texas, the speedster racked up 1,844 yards and 33 touchdowns on the ground — averaging 8.33 yards per carry. He also added 120 yards and three touchdowns receiving. His vision, speed, and toughness are eerily reminiscent of Donovan Edwards — which is why dozens of the nation’s top programs have been falling over themselves recruiting him.
Michigan made Tatum’s top-seven offers list at the tail end of April and could even be considered the favorite by some. In fact, he currently holds a crystal ball to the Wolverines from 247. Beyond the gridiron, baseball factors into where he ends up. Luckily for the Michigan football program, the Michigan baseball program has established solid ties with the four-star running back. Michigan isn’t as big of a powerhouse as USC, Oklahoma, and Texas in terms of churning out MLB talent, but the program’s recent success and the relationships he’s built at Michigan could make up for that.
The mutual interest between Tatum and the Wolverines, despite the commitment of Marshall, speaks to Michigan’s emergence as a destination for top running backs, not to mention the multiple tailback formula for success in the running game. Tatum and Marshall likely understand that the added competition could aid their development as NFL-caliber prospects. Marshall has demonstrably embraced this dynamic duo-oriented formula for success and is actively recruiting Tatum to join the Wolverines.
The Ohio standout has already been instrumental in closing the recruitments of Jadyn Davis and Brady Preiskorn, so one can hardly discount his efforts with Tatum.
A Tatum/Marshall backfield will look refreshingly familiar for Wolverines fans. Michigan will likely use them in similar facets as they deploy Corum and Edwards. Marshall, assuming the role of Corum, will be the bell cow back, and Tatum, in a similar vein as Edwards, could be used as the Swiss army knife-type back for the Maize and Blue, or vice versa. This combination will allow the winning blueprint of the last few years to be reapplied if the offensive coaching staff chooses — a possibility that likely has head coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore wringing their hands in anticipation.
Bringing Taylor to Ann Arbor will require plenty of additional legwork from Michigan. Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia and USC will not go quietly and will use Jordan Marshall’s prominence in the class to dissuade the Lone Star State burner. Because of Michigan’s utilization of dynamic duos in the backfield and the momentum already generated in the 2024 class, it’s well within the realm of possibility that the nation’s second-best running back could soon join forces with the nation’s sixth-best running back to wreak havoc in the Big Ten in the years to come.