What We Know, What We're Wondering And A Prediction About The Running Backs
Heading into the 2019 season, Michigan's running back position was a big question mark. Now, it's one of the strongest position groups on the roster.
What we know...
We know that Michigan has three guys that any running back coach could count on. Sophomore Zach Charbonnet, redshirt sophomore Hassan Haskins and returning senior Chris Evans give U-M three reliable, proven and talented backs to lean on. Throw in potential contributions from freshman Black Corum and redshirt sophomore Christian Turner, if he sticks around, and you really have a versatile stable of young and experienced backs.
Last year Charbonnet carried it 149 times to Haskins' 121. Charbonnet also paced the team in rushing yards with 739 and touchdowns with 11, which was good for a freshman record. With Evans in the mix, U-M is adding a back who carried it 304 times for 1,722 yards and 14 touchdowns from 2016-2018. Evans also caught 40 passes for 392 yards and two touchdowns over that stretch. Those three backs give U-M arguably the best stable of ball carriers in the Big Ten and should allow Josh Gattis to sleep pretty well at night at least when it comes to his rushing attack.
What we're wondering...
With all of the above being said, I'm still really curious to see how Chris Evans is going to be used in Josh Gattis' system. He's a really talented back, but also has the ability to play in the slot exclusively if he wanted to. In fact, he was recruited as a slot receiver coming out of high school and made some incredible plays as a wide receiver in high school.
I have always been a huge fan of Evans. I saw him play a few times in high school and was blown away by his ability to make a big play and his overall versatility. What are two key components of Gattis' offense? Big plays and versatility. I truly think Evans could be a massive X-factor for the Wolverines in 2020 regardless of where he lines up but right now, it's a big question mark.
I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that Chris Evans will lead Michigan's running backs in touchdowns. I don't know if he'll be the leading carrier or rusher, but I think because of his versatility and abilities as a pass catcher, he'll have more total touchdowns than any other running back on the roster.
I also find myself pulling for Evans, which makes predicting his success a little easier for me personally. I know he screwed up and is probably lucky to still be in school and on the team, but by all accounts he's a great young man and has done a lot more good than bad while at U-M. I've known him since he was a junior in high school and always enjoyed my interactions with him. He's an easy kid to pull for and should really add some nice wrinkles to Gattis' offense.
What do you know, want to know and see happening with the running back group in 2020? Comment below!!!