Production, not stars, defines Michigan freshman running backs
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What do you think about Michigan’s incoming running backs? — Derek Gould, via Facebook
Christian Turner, Hassan Haskins and Michael Barrett didn’t receive the marks from scouting services that make fans take notice, but look deeper and the three players produced big numbers for their high school teams. They’ll fit well into Michigan’s offense and shouldn’t be underestimated.
Turner (5-foot-11, 185 pounds) rushed for 2,705 yards and 37 touchdowns in three varsity seasons at Buford (Ga.) in a backfield that included Florida State signee Anthony Grant and 2019 Division I prospect Derrian Brown. The Wolves reached the Georgia Class 5A state finals in 2016 and the state semifinals last season.
Barrett (6-foot, 215) played quarterback at Valdosta (Ga.) Lowndes and all he did was produce 7,293 yards of total offense in his prep career. He threw for 45 touchdowns and rushed for 38 scores. Those numbers helped him be named first-team all-state in Class 7A, Georgia’s big school division, and the state Offensive Player of the Year by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Haskins (6-1, 207) rushed for 3,706 yards and 50 touchdowns the last two seasons combined at Eureka (Mo.) and was named the 6A Offensive Player of the Year by the Missouri Football Coaches Association. Eureka reached the state semifinals last season, and Haskins gained 2,197 yards and scored 31 times on the ground.
The players were rated as 3-star prospects by the 247Sports composite, and none were ranked among the top 500 players of the country. Recruiting ratings are a good guide, but they don’t determine what a player will do in college. Turner competed in Nike’s 2017 The Opening Finals last summer, which should give an indication of his abilities.
Michigan has a lot of bodies in its running backs room, led by senior Karan Higdon and junior Chris Evans. The three freshmen aren’t likely to play a big role this year, although the new NCAA rule allowing players to participate in up to four games without losing their redshirt option gives them a better chance at getting onto the field. They will play those big roles before their careers with the Wolverines are finished.
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