I just got through reviewing the Michigan vs Florida game from last year’s Citrus Bowl looking at the Offensive and Defensive Lines for the Wolverines and wound up being very impressed with Running Back De’Veon Smith.
The 5-11, 230 Smith pulverized one of the better defenses in the country when he ran over, around and through them for 109 yards in an impressive 41-7 victory over a good Florida team. The Gators were good enough to win the SEC East in Jim McElwain’s first season and their defense finished the year ranked 8th in total defense.
De’Veon Smith was not running the ball against New Mexico State, or SMU. This was a great defense and Smith fought them the entire game.
Smith finished the 2015 season as Michigan’s leading rusher with 753 yards and 6 rushing
Former Michigan coach Brady Hoke did have some success in Ann Arbor and he had some pretty good recruiting classes. Included in his 2013 recruiting class was De’Veon Smith, plus their top Running Back signed that season, Derrick Green. Green has since transferred out, but Smith has been the Wolverines top rusher the past two seasons.
Smith set the career rushing record at Howland High School near Warren, Ohio with 6,750 yards. He was a highly recruited 4 star Running Back that broke Woody Hayes’ cardinal rule and left Ohio for that ‘team up north’.
Not only is Smith an impressive back, but the Wolverines also have plenty of depth.
The depth probably starts with the speedier Drake Johnson. The Drake is not a small guy at 6-0, 210, but he is a little quicker and a nice change of pace for the Michigan Offense. Johnson ran for 271 yards and 4 Touchdowns last season.
A home town guy, Johnson was only a 2 star recruit and the lowest rated player in the Michigan recruiting class of 2012. That doesn’t hinder Drake Johnson from giving it all he has on every play.
Ty Isaac is just the opposite of Drake Johnson. Isaac was All Everything as a high school football player at Joliet Catholic Academy, running for school records left and right.
As a junior, the 6-3, 230 Isaac ran for an impressive 2,629 yards and 45 Touchdowns. He missed several games as a senior because of an injury, but he still ran for around 1,500 yards and 22
Touchdowns. For his career at Joliet, he ran for a record 5,305 yards.
He was both the Offensive Player of the Year and the overall Player of the Year in the Chicago area.
Some of the recruiting services had Isaac as a 5 star recruit. Naturally, he was recruited by everybody, but he signed with the Trojans of USC.
As a freshman at USC, Isaac ran for 236 yards on 40 carries. Isaac was playing, but he decided to head closer to home so the recruiting wars started over again for Isaac.
He decided on Michigan, but he had to sit out the required by rules season in 2014.
Isaac was eligible in 2015 and he started one game. Against UNLV in game three, Isaac carried the ball 8 times for 114 yards and he had a 76 yard Touchdown run.
Ty Isaac did not play in the last 6 games of the season and he finished with 205 yards on 30 carries.
In Jim Harbaugh’s first recruiting class, the Wolverines signed 3 star Karan Higdon from Sarasota, Florida. As a true freshman this past season, Higdon only gained 19 yards.
With a full year to recruit a classs, Harbaugh and company signed Kareem Walker from Wayne, New Jersey. Walker was rated as a high 4 star recruit and as the 4th best Running Back in the nation. During his high school playing days, Walker ran for 4,563 yards at 8.2 yards per carry with 55 Touchdowns. During his senior season, Walker ran for 1,517 yards, but his best year was his junior year when he rushed for 1,607 yards and 26 Touchdowns.
Walker participated in the Spring drills so he may be ready to contribute early.
They also signed two 3 star Running Backs in Chris Evans from Indianapolis and Kingston Davis from Prattville, Alabama. Davis, in particular, has unlimited potential and he impressed coaches in the Spring with his play. Davis is a big power back along the lines of De’Veon Smith and Ty Isaac at 6-0, 230. Evans is 5-10, 195 and supposedly runs the 40 in the 4.4 range.
Walker is a burner and Davis has that power and both of them could play as freshmen.
With De’Veon Smith, Ty Isaac, Drake Johnson, Karan Higdon, Kareem Walker, Kingston Davis and Chris Evans, the Wolverines should be well stocked at Running Back for quite a while.