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2012 FOOTBALL PREVIEW ISSUE

C ROWNING

GLORY Senior QB Denard Robinson And The Wolverines Have Their Sights Set On The Big Ten Title

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on the cover

More Than Shoelace

Denard Robinson Wants To Make An Impact Beyond The Field page 86

photo by lon horwedel

2012 Michigan Football Schedule DATE OPPONENT SITE TIME TV Sept. 1 vs. Alabama Arlington, Texas 8 p.m. ET TBA Sept. 8 Air Force Ann Arbor 3:30 p.m. ET ABC/ESPN2 Sept. 15 Massachusetts Ann Arbor 3:30 p.m. ET BTN Sept. 22 at Notre Dame South Bend, Ind. 7:30 p.m. ET NBC Oct. 6 at Purdue West Lafayette, Ind. 4 p.m. ET BTN Oct. 13 Illinois Ann Arbor 3:30 p.m. ET ABC Oct. 20 Michigan State Ann Arbor TBA TBA Oct. 27 at Nebraska Lincoln, Neb. 8 p.m. ET TBA Nov. 3 at Minnesota Minneapolis, Minn. TBA TBA Nov. 10 Northwestern Ann Arbor TBA TBA Nov. 17 Iowa Ann Arbor TBA TBA Nov. 24 at Ohio State Columbus, Ohio 12 p.m. ET ABC Schedule subject to change; Home games in bold at Michigan Stadium

SERIES HISTORY 2-1 1-0 1-0 23-15-1 43-14 68-23-2 67-32-5 4-2-1 71-24-3 53-15-2 40-13-4 58-44-6

football preview 2012 VOLUME 24, No. 1 ISSN 1048-9940 Editor John Borton Associate Editor Michael Spath The Wolverine.com Editor Chris Balas Football Recruiting Editor Tim Sullivan Staff Writer Andy Reid Managing Editor Chris Riffer Contributing Editor Steve Downey Contributing Writer Ryan Tice Editorial Intern Kevin Minor Layout And Design Cory Lavalette • Jeanette Blankenship Contributing Photographers Lon Horwedel • Per Kjeldsen Cover Photo Lon Horwedel Publisher Stu Coman Business Manager Linda Autry Circulation Manager Gail Evans Merchandise/Marketing Manager Beverly Taylor Director of Advertising Dave Searcy Customer Service Manager Laura Kendall The Wolverine is published monthly. A one-year (12 issues) subscription is $49.95. The Wolverine Football Preview is printed by Walsworth Print Group, Saint Joseph, Mich. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Wolverine, P.O. Box 2331, Durham, NC  27701. Periodical postage paid at Durham, NC 27702 and additional offices. For advertising or subscription information, call 1-800421-7751 or write The Wolverine, P.O. Box 1304, Ann Arbor, MI  48106. The Wolverine is a publication of Coman Publishing Company, Inc., 324 Blackwell St., Suite 560, Durham, NC  27701. Charter Member E-Mail Address: thewolverine@comanpub.com Subscription questions: gevans@comanpub.com Web Site: www.thewolverine.com

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Michigan’s Man

Brady Hoke Has Turned Out To Be A Great Fit As The Wolverines’ Head Football Coach page 36

The Comeback Kids A Look At U-M’s Best Come-From-Behind Wins page 58

The Day The Game Changed The Advent Of Freshman Eligibility In 1972 Forever Altered The U-M Football Landscape page 64

Position Groups Quarterbacks........................................ 91 Running Backs.................................... 100 Wide Receivers................................... 112 Tight Ends........................................... 119 Offensive Linemen............................. 132 Defensive Linemen............................. 143 Linebackers......................................... 158 Defensive Backs.................................. 165 Special Teams..................................... 176 departments Wolverine Watch..................................... 8 Michigan Football Notes....................... 10 Also inside Rosters................................................... 34 Opponent Previews............................ 182 In Memoriam....................................... 205 2011 Statistics..................................... 206 Record Book........................................ 211 Year-By-Year........................................ 236 Rivals.com Top 100............................. 265 Recruiting: Midwest Top 30............... 266 Recruiting: Michigan Top 15.............. 270

features Five In A Row...........................................................................46 In 1992, U-M’s Fifth-Year Seniors Closed Out Their Careers With Their Fifth Straight Big Ten Title And A Win In The Rose Bowl

Just The Start.......................................................................140 Coordinator Greg Mattison Expects To Build Off Last Year’s Breakthrough Defensive Effort

Homecoming...........................................................................52 Greg Mattison’s Decision To Return To Ann Arbor Was Not Easy, But Was The Right Move For Him And His Family

In The Spotlight..................................................................150 Nose Tackle Will Campbell Has One Final Chance To Fulfill His, And Michigan’s, Expectations

Looking For More................................................................72 Coordinator Al Borges’ Offenses Are Accustomed To Year-Two Progress

Raising The Bar....................................................................154 After A Strong Showing As A Freshman, Linebacker Desmond Morgan Is Ready To Meet Higher Expectations

2012 Season Preview............................................................76 A Quick Look At The Players, Games and Teams To Watch This Fall Versatile Game Plan............................................................82 Coordinator Al Borges Discusses Michigan’s Plan Of Attack Putting It On His Shoulders.............................................96 After Two Injury-Plagued Seasons, Fitzgerald Toussaint Has Taken Over As U-M’s Starting Running Back Chasing Legends................................................................108 Fifth-Year Senior Receiver Roy Roundtree Is Ready To Rise Wearing The Famed No. 21 A great education.............................................................124 Tight End Brandon Moore Studies Brain Function Along With His Playbook Center Of Attention.........................................................128 Ricky Barnum Steps In To A Crucial Role On The Line

Turning It Loose.................................................................172 Thomas Gordon Wants To Join The Elite Group Of Safeties That Offenses Fear Big Ten Preview....................................................................180 Taking Stock Of The Conference’s Top Storylines And Best Players, Plus Projections For The Division Crowns Pro Update.............................................................................194 Former Wolverines In The NFL Year in Review......................................................................200 In His First Season, Brady Hoke Led The Wolverines Back To Elite Status Restoration Project........................................................252 Though Its Overall Record Was Lacking, The Class Of 2007 Helped Return Michigan Football To Prominence Mapping Michigan..............................................................262 An Historic Look At Where The Wolverines Have Come From

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ICHIGAN’S

AN

Brady Hoke Has Turned Out To Be A Great Fit As The Wolverines’ Head Football Coach

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BY JOHN BORTON

rady Hoke arrived at Michigan like an old school buddy with whom many had lost touch. Fans with a few years under their Wolverine-watching belts recalled him fondly as the gravel-voiced architect of a national championship defensive line in 1997. Most knew he’d made his way off to some Mid-American Conference school and eventually headed to the West Coast. But many were shocked that a former U-M assistant with a slightly sub-.500 record as a college head coach found himself headed for the big office in Ann Arbor. Then they heard him speak, in one of the most memorable press conferences ever at Michigan. They edged forward in their seats when he professed a willingness to walk from San Diego to Ann Arbor to become the Wolverines’ head coach. They felt a shiver of old-time electricity when he pounded the podium and reconfirmed “Ohio” as the … most … important … game … on … that … schedule. They noticed when a host of former players showed up … Jon Jansen, Jarrett Irons, Aaron Shea, Glen Steele and many others, all passionately supporting the new head coach. They swelled with pride when Hoke declared, “This is Michigan,” as if no more needed to be said. They watched with wonderment as his staff filled out and highly regarded recruits began pouring in. Then those same fans experienced a wild ride in the fall, including wins over Notre Dame, Nebraska, Ohio State and Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl, on the way to an Hoke's love of Michigan and his passion for coaching have been clear from the day he was hired, and U-M's players and coaches alike have been inspired by his approach. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

11-2 record. It wasn’t perfect — Hoke would be the first to say so and point out falling shy of a Big Ten title — but Michigan’s rumble through the autumn of 2011 certainly cleared up questions many harbored over the future of a recently humbled program. For most, apprehensions melted away like a snowball on Bermuda blacktop. Certainly, those who wanted to know more about the crew athletics director David Brandon put in place got a whole lot of questions answered. They can feel it when someone like Shea declares: “It’s his love for Michigan. It’s not fake. This is his destination job. You never have to worry about Brady Hoke taking a pro job. This is his destination job, and his goal. You can see the passion.” Everyone could see a host of other characteristics as well, ones certain to envelop the University of Michigan’s most high-profile sport for years to come. Here are just some of the areas that came sharply into focus over the past year. BRADY HOKE

“We don’t hide the fact that we want guys with character and integrity, and that have an understanding of what a degree at Michigan means. We want guys who have a great passion to play the greatest team game there is.”

Recruiting Maniacs The book on Hoke tabbed him a strong recruiter for Michigan as an assistant, but some fretted about him coming in with less than great name recognition as a head coach. They questioned how he’d be able to recruit for a program coming off a combined 1522 record over three seasons, sans a high profile. That talk didn’t last long. Hoke’s crew scrambled to fill out the 2011 recruiting class, then began getting a flurry of verbal commitments before the summer

even rolled around. By the time they were finished, they’d pulled in a class of 25, including Rivals.com five-star linemen Kyle Kalis and Ondre Pipkins. The class of 2012 became a consensus top-10 group, with Rivals.com and ESPN. com each pegging it at No. 7 in the nation. Hoke and his crew didn’t slow down once Signing Day came and went. The Wolverines had already landed a very early commitment for 2013 from one of the top pro-style quarterbacks in the nation, Warren (Mich.) De La Salle’s Shane Morris. By early June, they’d received 20 verbal commitments, including five from offensive linemen rated as four-star performers by Rivals.com. That entity pegged Michigan as having the No. 1 class in the nation as spring rolled into summer. Hoke is no stargazer, and he knows it’s a long way until National Signing Day, 2013, but he also knows Michigan’s staff will always be relentless on the recruiting trail. They come armed with a plenty to offer, he cautioned. “We’re the 14th-ranked university in the country,” Hoke pointed out. “The winningest football program in the history of college football. We’ve got a tremendous community. We’ve got unbelievable passion that people have for Michigan on a national scale. Facility-wise, there is no stadium like that stadium. There is no indoor facility like that indoor facility. “We’ve got coaches who understand Michigan. We’ve got guys who do a tremendous job with relationships wherever they go, and with the trust they have been able to create with high school coaches, recruits and parents. It’s just part of the fabric of who we are. “We don’t hide the fact that we want guys with character and integrity, and that have an understanding of what a degree at Michigan means. We want guys who have a great passion to play the greatest team game there is.” Hoke’s comment about relationships has been seconded, over and over again, by high school coaches with whom U-M’s staff interacts. They consistently cite the genuineness of the crew, the concern for the players, the coaches’ personable nature, etc. Ohio State coach Urban Meyer himself — at the time, as an ESPN analyst — called Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison “the best recruiter in college football.” Recruiting coordinator Jeff Hecklinski and the rest of Michigan’s assistants leave no stone unturned in searching for talent that also represents a fit in a winged helmet. Coaches from Blissfield, Mich., a farming community of slightly more than 3,000 near

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LOOKING FOR

MORE

Coordinator Al Borges’ Offenses Are Accustomed To Year-Two Progress

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BY JOHN BORTON

y any objective standard, Michigan’s 2011 offense wasn’t the college football equivalent of Spam. The Wolverines averaged 33.3 points per game, more than their offenseemphasized, defense-decimated brethren of a year earlier. While U-M’s 2011 defense drew most of the slack-jawed admiration by comparison, the offense didn’t take a backseat. It produced Michigan’s first pair of 1,000-yard rushers since 1975, a quarterback that totaled 3,349 yards of offense and the second-best scoring outfit in the Big Ten. More importantly than any statistics — both head coach Brady Hoke and offensive coordinator Al Borges stress — Michigan’s offense proved good enough to help win 11 football games. Now, the football-moving side of Michigan has a chance to get even better. History whispers that it will do so. Borges has served as an offensive coordinator in some venue for the past 31 college football seasons. His crews have always

Borges and the Wolverines set a high bar last year, averaging 33.3 points and 404.7 yards per game, but past results for the coach portend improvement in 2012.

PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

improved dramatically year one to year two, with a couple of exceptions — Auburn from 2004-05, when it couldn’t have gotten much better, and 2002-03 at Indiana, which is … well, Indiana. The latter reference probably isn’t fair and doesn’t tell the story of those Hoosiers teams, at least relating to the Borges pattern. The Hoosiers featured different quarterbacks in each of those years, just like the Tigers did, meaning all predictable progress bets are off. At Michigan, he has senior Denard Robinson back, following a very productive junior season. At the same time, Robinson led the Big Ten in interceptions, with 15, and connected on just 55.0 percent of his passes. Those areas alone allow room for the Wolverines to take a leap forward on offense. Again, statistics don’t represent the bottom line. But taking care of the football, running an even more efficient offense, and getting better in aspects directly relating to winning football games could make the difference between good and great. “The one thing about Al is, he is as good of an offensive mind as there is in this country,” Hoke assured. “When you see what he’s done at the different stops he’s had, he does a tremendous job. I think this may have been his best year of coaching, from my standpoint, because of changing within some of the things with the spread. “That tells you about a coach. The one thing about this staff, and

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why I like this staff so much is, there are no egos on it. We’ve got guys who have accomplished some great things from a professional standpoint, but everybody is in it for the right reasons —for the kids. Everybody is in it together. We agree to disagree once in a while, but once that decision gets made of what we’re going to do, it’s everybody marching, locked arm in arm, to do the job for these kids and Michigan.”

“Most of the time, as a coach you could see the difference. That’s no guarantee. I never assume. I just know my past. My history tells me that there should be some improvement.” Borges

Sometimes, that means slowing the pace and scoring less, in order to help the defense. Borges stands more than willing to do precisely that, rather than piling up numbers for show. It’s not all about the coaching either, Borges cautions. “At the end of the day, it’s all about the players,” he said. “There are very few people out there making water into wine. A lot of people want to think they are. A lot of people want to advertise the genius of the offensive coaches. But truth be told, most guys when they lose players turn out not as smart as everybody thought they were. “The key is to try and keep your talent base in a position where you can still be as effective, even though some years you may not be as prolific. You’d love to be prolific every year, but there are going to be some years …” This year doesn’t look like a step-backward season for the Wolverines. Robinson returns, with reports of refinements in his throwing efforts this spring. Fellow 1,000-yard rusher Fitzgerald Toussaint is back as well, along with three-fifths of Michigan’s starting offensive line from 2011. Yes, Rimington Award winner David Molk is gone, as well as starting offensive lineman Mark Huyge. Tight end Kevin Koger and wide receiver Junior Hemingway won’t provide big targets for Robinson this year. But the nucleus of the 2011 attack is back, and increasingly grounded in Michigan’s offense under Borges. Borges insisted this spring was “Completely different. We, offensively, did not even install. We emphasized certain things certain days, where my first year, we had to install. Nobody knew anything. We had to install the zone play, then install the power play, install jet protection. “Now, we came out day one and ran pretty much our entire offense, so we could practice it 15 days. When you install, you really only get to practice part of your offense for half the spring. It isn’t in yet.” Now it is, and if the Borges’ past proves prologue, the Wolverines could be a handful.

Portland State Joining the late, great Pokey Allen at Portland State didn’t represent Borges’ first stop along the college coaching trail. He’d already put in a year as an assistant at California and three more at Diablo Valley (California) College, including the 1985 season as offensive coordinator for the latter. Then he spent the next seven seasons at Portland State, an NCAA Division II school. Borges’ first year there, in 1986, the Vikings went 6-5 with an offense averaging 26.2 points per game. The following season, they averaged 31.7 per contest, going 11-2-1 and losing to Troy State in the NCAA Division II championship game.

“We won 11 the third year, too, and the quarterback just shot through the roof,” Borges recalled. That quarterback was Chris Crawford, who as a sophomore in 1986 led an offense featuring 16 TD passes set against 18 interceptions and a 55.9 completion percentage. As a junior on the near-title team, Crawford paced a crew that produced 17 touchdown passes, only 11 interceptions and a 63.5-percent completion rate. Here is a look at the complete 1986-87 jump by Portland State’s offense:

Portland State Offense Under Borges Year Pts. Rush Avg. TD Com.-Att. Pct. Yds. TD Int. Tot. Avg. 1986 26.2 1,426 129.6 19 224-374 55.9 2,914 16 18 4,340 394.5 1987 31.7 2,054 186.7 24 207-326 63.5 2,539 17 11 4,593 417.5

Crawford led Portland State back to the Division II national championship game the following year, taking another step up in his development. He wound up passing for 7,543 career yards and 48 touchdowns.

Boise State Borges followed Allen to Boise State, where the same phenomenon occurred. The Broncos went 3-8 in 1993, Borges’ first season there. The following year, they jumped to 13-2, making it all the way to the NCAA Division I-AA title contest against Youngstown State and a coach familiar to both Michigan and the NCAA. “We darned near won the national championship,” Borges recalled. “Jim Tressel beat us with Youngstown State in the championship game. The offense took a jump of more than a dozen points per game. Here’s a look at how the Broncos went from five games under .500 to the national championship game:

Boise State Offense Under Borges Year Pts. Rush Avg. TD Com.-Att. Pct. Yds. TD Int. Tot. Avg. 1993 19.1 1,077 97.9 13 214-411 52.1 2,557 9 18 3,634 330.4 1994 31.8 1,880 170.9 17 190-347 54.8 2,801 26 10 4,681 425.5

That sort of production rise caught the Pac-10’s attention. Oregon called, and Borges answered, heading up an offense averaging 27.0 points per game during the 1995 season. There’s no year-two comparison, though, since a school the Ducks beat, 38-31, during Borges’ lone season there made a bid for his services. He made the jump down the coast to UCLA, where he experienced perhaps his most dramatic year one to year two improvement under head coach Bob Toledo.

UCLA The Bruins struggled to a 5-6 record in 1996, Borges’ first season in Los Angeles. They averaged a solid 30.0 points per game, but still found themselves getting outgunned in the high-scoring Pac-10. The following season, behind Pac-10 Player of the Year Cade McNown, UCLA went on a scoring binge. They averaged 39.8 points per game and rolled to a 10-2 record and a 29-23 victory over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl. Along the way, they destroyed Texas, 66-3, and ended the regular season with a 31-24 victory over archrival USC. “Cade McNown wasn’t a very good quarterback the first year I coached him,” Borges recalled. “The next two years, he was a Heisman candidate. That’s the biggest jump I can think of.” Here is how the overall offensive numbers shaped up:

UCLA Offense Under Borges Year Pts. Rush Avg. TD Com.-Att. Pct. Yds. TD Int. Tot. Avg. 1996 30.0 1,698 154.4 26 183-359 51.0 2,553 13 16 4,251 386.5 1997 39.8 1,988 165.7 32 192-321 59.8 3,168 25 16 5,156 429.7

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2012 SEASON PREVIEW T

A Quick Look At The Players, Games And Teams To Watch This Fall

BY ANDY REID

he 2011 season could not have been more exciting. From the night game festivities against Notre Dame to an 11-2 finish capped by a Sugar Bowl victory, the Wolverines stormed back into the national spotlight. Michigan head coach Brady Hoke’s second year at the helm will have just as many twists, turns and, hopefully, wins. The Wolverines open the season with Alabama, play at Notre Dame at night and, of course, rekindle annual rivalries with Michigan State and Ohio State. These are the players, games and question marks that will have the biggest impact on the 2012 season.

TOP FIVE PLAYERS

1. Senior quarterback Denard Robinson: He is a special player, unlike any other in Michigan football history. Robinson has his faults — he was the only quarterback in the nation to throw 12 or more interceptions (15) with fewer than 260 passing attempts (258) last year — but Wolverine Nation loves him just the same. Mixing his dynamic athletic ability with another year under offensive coordinator Al Borges, Robinson hopes to put his most complete season together in 2012. If he stays healthy, Robinson will smash the all-time Michigan record for total offense. After posting 4,272 yards in 2010 and 3,349 in 2011, he needs just 1,141 to surpass current recordholder Chad Henne (9,300 from 2004-07). And if he does that while leading the Wolverines to another terrific season, Robinson could very well end up in New York City as a Heisman Trophy finalist at the end of the year.

With a healthy senior season, quarterback Denard Robinson should easily surpass Chad Henne as Michigan's all-time career leader for total offense. PHOTO BY ERIC BRONSON/BRONSONPHOTO.COM

2. Redshirt junior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint: Through the first half of the 2011 season, the Wolverines did not know who their go-to running back was. In the first six games he played in (he missed the Notre Dame game with an injury), Toussaint mustered just 46.5 yards per game on an average of 8.6 carries per contest. Then something clicked. In the Maize and Blue’s last five regular-season games, he ran for 678 yards, including 192 against Illinois, on 6.1 yards per carry. He figures to be a big part of the Michigan offensive attack for the next two seasons, and will be a game-breaker in 2012. 3. Redshirt junior left tackle Taylor Lewan: He certainly looks the part — he has the size, speed, strength and tenacity of a classic left tackle. And when his career is all wrapped up, Lewan will likely be a four-year starter and no doubt atop many All-American teams and NFL Draft boards. But this is a big year for the big man. Now in his fourth year on campus, Lewan has worked hard to drop the goofy vibe (among other things, he tattooed a mustache on the inside of his index finger so he could hold it above his upper lip). He has focused on becoming a better leader and teammate, taking on a more serious attitude. 4. Fifth-year senior strong safety Jordan Kovacs: At a place like Michigan, with its rich history of excellence and dominance, a player like Kovacs does not come around that often. He’s not an athletic specimen. If you saw him on campus, you would be hard-pressed to distinguish him from the general student population. During his time with the team, there have been more talented safeties on the roster, players with the physical tools that Kovacs simply doesn’t possess. But he has never relinquished his starting job, and he has transformed into one of the Wolverines’ most reliable defensive players. 5. Redshirt sophomore outside linebacker Jake Ryan: As a first-year starter in 2011, Ryan tallied just 37 tackles, but got the attention of the coaching staff with his aggressive mindset and relentless motor. He was raw but obviously talented. Now, with three years of eligibility ahead of him — and more time under his belt with Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison — Ryan looks more polished, disciplined and dangerous.

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What ’ s Old Is New U-M Is Going Back To The Basics With Its Running Backs

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By Andy Reid

I

n his 21-year career as Michigan’s running backs coach, Fred Jackson has had his fair share of high-profile, nationally soughtafter recruits. Ball carriers such as Chris Perry, Anthony Thomas and Chris Howard all shunned a bevy of offers to choose the Wolverines. In recent years, though, that hasn’t exactly been the case. Mike Hart, who set program records for career rushing yards (5,040) and attempts (1,105) between 2004-07, was a little-known prospect out of Syracuse, N.Y., when Jackson put him on a path toward greatness. The Wolverines’ current go-to back, redshirt junior Fitzgerald Toussaint, who last year became the 32nd player in program history to rush for 1,000-plus yards in a season (1,041), was a four-star prospect out of Youngstown, Ohio, but at the time of his commitment, he held just five other offers, from middling BCS programs like Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Illinois. And youngsters such as sophomore Thomas Rawls and incoming freshman Drake Johnson were nearly invisible on the recruiting trail before committing to the Maize and Blue.

“Your senior takes over the position every year, and Vince knows better than anybody what I expect from my backs. If I didn’t go to practice one day, he could go out there and know and   tell the guys what they needed to do.” Running backs coach Fred Jackson on Vincent Smith

“You have to have confidence in your own ability to assess talent,” Jackson said. “After coaching running backs as long as I have, you know exactly what you’re looking for. As a coach, you can’t listen to the guys who are assigning five stars or four stars or whatever. They don’t coach running backs. They can say whatever they want, but I have to trust myself. “I don’t care when someone says, ‘Fred, I don’t know why you took that kid.’ I’ll say, ‘I don’t know either, man.’ And then when he goes out there and beats you, you’ll know why I took him.” It’s sometimes hard to define what, exactly, sparks Jackson’s interest about a specific running back. It’s certainly not physical attributes — he’s molded players from Hart, 5-9, 209, to Tyrone Wheatley, 6-1, 225, into dominant running backs. And although there are obvious benefits to having a tailback that can run fast, that’s not a defining characteristic for Jackson, either. “Speed for a running back is overrated. It’s all about moving the chains,” he said. “You can score fast — and you saw that here when we had the No. 1 offense in the Big Ten in 2010 — and that may not help your team. You want someone who can move the chains, and eventually, they’re going to break a big one. I call it the ‘Tick, Tick, Tick, Boom’ theory. That’s what we want from our running backs.” When Jackson sets out to identify the next Michigan running back, it all comes down to one trait, because if he has it, the rest will follow. “The No. 1 thing I look for in a running back is toughness,” Jack-

Last season, Vincent Smith rushed for 298 yards and two touchdowns on 50 carries, while also catching 11 passes for 149 yards and two more touchdowns.

Photo by Per Kjeldsen

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RB

son said. “When I first started in 1992, Bo Schembechler told me, ‘If you get a running back who isn’t tough, he’s going to fumble the football. If he’s going to fumble the football, he’s going to get you beat.’ He has to be tough. “You want a guy that thinks the sun rises and sets with them.” The Wolverines may have a ragtag amalgamation of spread-style sprinters and I-formation bruisers on the roster for the 2012 season, but they’re all tough — and they may just help comprise one of Michigan’s most dangerous backfields in recent memory.

Upperclassmen Step Up

At the core of the run game will be Toussaint, who emerged from a scrum of untested ball carriers to become the Wolverines’ every-down starter in 2011. It wasn’t until halfway through the season that Toussaint took a firm grasp on the starting role, but once he did, he never let go. In four of the Maize and Blue’s final five regular-season games, he ran for 120 or more yards (170 versus Purdue, 192 versus Illinois, 138 versus Nebraska and 120 versus Ohio State), finishing the year with nine rushing touchdowns and an average of 5.6 yards per carry. In 2012, Toussaint is hoping to continue his ascent. “The expectations change in the fact that he needs to improve in all facets,” Jackson said. “One thousand yards — that number will go higher if he improves. I’ve talked to him about things to do during the summer, and we’ll get through training camp. We’ll get him ready to do all the little things that will make him a better football player in the fall.” Now that he has the experience of a successful season under his belt, Toussaint is even more focused on making a positive impact for the Wolverines. “You’re going to see a different Fitz this year,” Jackson said. “He realizes that he has a chance to do something special. He wants to do it. I’m not going to have to say anything to Fitz at practice.” Senior Vincent Smith has also accepted his role on the team and is flourishing. In the summer months, the whiteboard in Jackson’s office isn’t littered with diagrams of plays or notes on the next opponent’s defense.

Quick Facts Position Coach: Fred Jackson (21st season). Returning Starters: RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (11 career starts) and FB Stephen Hopkins (2). Departing Starter: FB John McColgan (3). Projected New Starters: None. Top Reserves: TB Vincent Smith (11) and TB Thomas Rawls. Wait Until 2013: TB Justice Hayes and FB Joe Kerridge. Newcomers: TB Drake Johnson, TB Dennis Norfleet and FB Sione Houma. Moved In: None. Moved Out: None. Rookie Impact: None. Most Improved Player: Rawls. Best Pro Prospect: Hopkins. FYI: Michigan’s running backs accounted for 1,633 yards on the ground last season, the most production by the corps since 2007 (2,139 yards) … Michigan running backs carried the ball a combined 292 times in 2011, the most since 2008 (309 carries) … Michigan running backs combined for just 14 rushing touchdowns in 2011, which is tied with 2008 for the lowest number of scores since 2004 (13) … Toussaint averaged 5.6 yards per carry on 185 carries in 2011, which marks the highest per-carry average for a Michigan running back with at least 185 carries since Tim Biakabutuka in 1995 (303 carries, 6.0 yards per carry) … Toussaint was responsible for 64.0 percent of the carries by running backs in 2011 (187 of 292 total carries), the highest percentage of running back attempts by a single ball carrier since Mike Hart in 2006 (68.8 percent, 318 of 462 total carries) … Toussaint and quarterback Denard Robinson each ran for more than 1,000 yards last season (Toussaint, 1,041 and Robinson, 1,176). It marked the first time since 1975 (and only the second time overall) that Michigan had two 1,000-yard rushers (Rob Lytle, 1,030 and Gordon Bell, 1,388) … Rawls was coached by Fred Jackson Jr., the son of Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson, at Flint Northern High School.

Fred Jackson, who is entering his 21st season coaching running backs for Michigan, said that he thinks speed is an overrated quality for running backs, and that he values toughness more. Photo by lon horwedel

preseason analysis: Running backs Starter ✪✪✪✪ Redshirt junior Fitzgerald Toussaint is the first returning U-M 1,000-yard rusher since Mike Hart in 2007 — and he’s bringing a new level of confidence, experience and expectation along with him. Toussaint burst onto the scene midway through the 2011 season, finishing the year with 1,041 yards and nine touchdowns, after netting just eight carries in 2010. If not for Wisconsin running back and Heisman Trophy finalist Montee Ball, Toussaint might be considered the best back in the Big Ten. ✪✪✪✪ Depth Not only are there several capable ball carriers on the Michigan roster, but their diversity of talent allows the Wolverines to bolster the offense in different situational schemes. Toussaint has proven that he can be an every-down back who can shoulder the brunt of the work. Behind him, senior Vincent Smith is a great pass blocker, who can be dangerous when he gets the ball in space. Sophomore Thomas Rawls is a tough runner who could be a potential weapon in short-yardage situations. And with versatile junior Stephen Hopkins leading the way at fullback, the Wolverines should have an explosive backfield — not to mention the added running threat of quarterback Denard Robinson. X-Factor When Hopkins first arrived on campus, he was a big, power option that complemented Rich Rodriguez’s spread scheme. Last season, he redefined himself as a bruising fullback who opened up major holes for Toussaint. Even though he’s added muscle and gotten bigger, Hopkins still possesses the speed and athleticism to become a larger part of the game plan. He has 48 carries for 194 yards and four scores, along with one catch for 28 yards, in his career, and, if he continues to improve, the coaches could reward him with more touches. ✪✪✪✪ Overall When asked about the expectations for 2012, running backs coach Fred Jackson said he couldn’t make predictions because so much of the backs’ production rests on the evolution of the offensive line and the defenses the Wolverines face. That being said, Michigan is in very good shape in the backfield. Toussaint has continued his progression and should be even better this fall, and Smith, Rawls and Hopkins all have strengths that will provide the backfield diversity and versatility. Note: Star rankings are made on a scale of 1-5 stars.

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player bios Position Coach

Fred Jackson has coached for 21 years with U-M as the program’s man in charge of the running backs. He served six seasons as assistant head coach (1997-2002) and was associate head coach for five years (2003-07). He also served as the offensive coordinator from 1995-96. Under Jackson’s tutelage, three Wolverine running backs have been selected in the first round of the NFL draft — Tyrone Wheatley (17th in 1995), Tim Biakabutuka (eighth in 1996) and Chris Perry (26th in 2004). In 2011, Fitzgerald Toussaint became Jackson’s 12th U-M back to surpass the 1,000-yard mark in a season. Jackson also coached five seasons at Wisconsin (198286), serving as the Badgers’ offensive coordinator, quarterbacks and wide receivers coach during his years in Madison. He began his collegiate coaching career in the MidAmerican Conference as offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach and wide receivers coach at Toledo from 1979-81.

Returning Players Paul Gyarmati • FB R-Sr. • Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Ht.: 6-1 • Wt.: 216 Career Highlights: Appeared in all 13 games in a special teams role in 2011 and played one game as a reserve fullback … Recorded three tackles in 2010 on special teams while appearing in 11 contests … Registered one tackle against Delaware State in 2009 as a reserve outside linebacker. Prep: A three-year letterman at Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice … Was a team captain as a senior, and earned firstteam all-area and all-league honors in both his junior and senior seasons … Also was a two-year lacrosse letterman. Personal: Paul Philip Gyarmati was born July 22, 1990 ... Enrolled in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, majoring in history. Justice Hayes • RB R-Fr. • Grand Blanc, Mich. Ht.: 5-10 • Wt.: 176 Career Highlights: Redshirted and did not see game action in 2011. Prep: Graduated from Grand Blanc High School … Sprinted the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds … Rushed 380 times for 2,624 yards (6.9 yards per carry) and 21 touchdowns during his career … Rushed for 230 yards and two touchdowns, and posted more than 100 receiving yards and one touchdown, before injuring his wrist during the third game of his senior campaign … Carried the ball 175

times for 1,295 yards (7.4 yards per carry) and scored 12 touchdowns and caught 19 passes for 208 yards (10.9 yards per reception) during his junior season … Listed as a four-star prospect, the No. 4 prep player in Michigan, and the No. 85 recruit nationally by Rivals.com … Invited to the 2011 U.S. Army All-American Game as a senior. Personal: Justice Will Hayes was born Nov. 24, 1992 … Enrolled in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, major undeclared. Stephen Hopkins • RB Jr. • Double Oak, Texas Ht.: 6-0 • Wt.: 228 Career Highlights: Appeared in 11 games in 2011, starting twice at fullback … Tallied 43 yards on 11 carries (3.9 yards per carry) … Earned first varsity letter in 2010 … Appeared in 11 contests … Recorded 37 carries for 151 yards and four touchdowns. Prep: Touted as a three-star prospect by Rivals.com … Totaled 5,010 yards and 61 touchdowns on 847 carries (5.9 yards per carry) in his final three years at Marcus High School, including 1,332 yards and 19 scores as a senior … Earned all-state honorable-mention accolades as both a junior and senior, and earned district most valuable player honors as a junior. Personal: Born on Sept. 5, 1991 … Enrolled in the School of Kinesiology, majoring in sport management. Year GP/GS Att. Yds. Avg. TD 2010 11/0 37 151 4.1 4 2011 11/2 11 43 3.9 0 Totals 22/2 48 194 4.0 4 Joe Kerridge • FB R-Fr. • Traverse City, Mich. Ht.: 6-0 • Wt.: 231 Career Highlights: Did not see game action in 2011. Prep: A three-year letter winner for St. Francis High School … Rushed for 2,153 yards and 34 touchdowns in his prep career en route to earning AP All-State honorable mention recognition in 2009 … Was named a Detroit Free Press All-State punter in 2008. Personal: Joseph Kerridge was born Sept. 17, 1992 ... Enrolled in the School of Kinesiology, major has yet to be declared. Thomas Rawls • RB So. • Flint, Mich. Ht.: 5-10 • Wt.: 219 Career Highlights: Played in 10 games, including four as a reserve running back in 2011 … Carried the ball 13 times for 79 yards (6.1 yards per carry) … Rushed for a career-high 73 yards on 10 attempts (7.3 yards per attempt) against Minnesota.

Roster No. Name 99 Paul Gyarmati 5 Justice Hayes 33 Stephen Hopkins — Sione Houma — Drake Johnson 36 Joe Kerridge — Dennis Norfleet 38 Thomas Rawls 2 Vincent Smith 28 Fitzgerald Toussaint

Pos. FB RB RB RB RB FB RB RB RB RB

Ht. 6-1 5-10 6-0 6-0 6-1 6-0 5-7 5-10 5-6 5-10

Prep: Starred at Flint Northern High School under Fred Jackson Jr., the son of U-M running backs coach Fred Jackson … Carried the ball 150 times for 1,585 yards (10.6 yards per carry) and scored 19 scores as a senior … Rambled for a school-record 396 yards against Bay City Central in Sept. 2010 … Recorded 101 tackles in his junior year … Rated a three-star recruit and the No. 19 overall player in the state of Michigan by Rivals.com … Ranked as the No. 39 player in the state on the Detroit News Blue Chip list … Listed as the 15th-best player in Michigan by the Detroit Free Press … Garnered all-state honorable mention, all-conference and all-city recognition as a sophomore, junior and senior. Personal: Thomas Rawls was born Aug. 3, 1993 … Enrolled in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, major undeclared.

Wt. Year Elig. 216 5th Sr. 176 So. Fr. 228 Jr. Jr. 215 Fr. Fr. 205 Fr. Fr. 231 So. Fr. 170 Fr. Fr. 219 So. So. 172 Sr. Sr. 195 Sr. Jr.

Hometown (High School) Bloomfield Hills, Mich. (Brother Rice) Flint, Mich. (Grand Blanc Community) Double Oak, Texas (Marcus) Salt Lake City, Utah (Highland) Ann Arbor, Mich. (Pioneer) Traverse City, Mich. (St. Francis) Detroit, Mich. (Martin Luther King) Flint, Mich. (Flint Northern) Pahokee, Fla. (Pahokee) Youngstown, Ohio (Liberty)

Redshirt freshman fullback Joe Kerridge, from Traverse City, Mich., earned honorable mention all-state prep honors in 2009. photo by lon horwedel

Vincent Smith • RB Sr. • Pahokee, Fla. Ht.: 5-6 • Wt.: 172 Career Highlights: Earned his third varsity letter with 12 appearances and one start at running back in 2011… Rushed for 298 yards on the ground and two touchdowns on 50 carries (6.0 yards per carry) … Caught 11 passes for 149 yards (13.5 yards per reception) and two touchdowns … Has carried the ball 234 times for 1175 yards (5.0 yards per carry) and eight touchdowns in his career … Has grabbed 36 catches for 361 yards (10.0 yards per reception) and two touchdowns in his collegiate career … Caught a careerlong 32-yard touchdown pass against San Diego State in 2011 … Recorded a rushing, passing and receiving touchdown against Minnesota … Played superback in all 13 contests in 2010 … Made 10 starts … Had 136 carries

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2012 FOOTB ALL PREVIE

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Denard Robinson Wants To Be More Than A Football Player

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BY JOHN BORTON

he speaker could have been any Michigan football fan, given his eager inquiry regarding the presence of senior quarterback Denard Robinson. “Where’s Denard?” he called out. Upon spotting No. 16 sheepishly standing, he offered: “I hear you’re coming back, man. That is a good deal for Michigan.” Only the speaker wasn’t just anyone. He was the President of the United States. And when Barack Obama ventured to Ann Arbor to address Michigan students at the Al Glick Field House, he knew what name to mention to excite the crowd. Giving a shout out to one of the most explosive, dynamic performers ever to pull on a winged helmet to a Michigan crowd these days is like wading among hungry piranhas. It’s going to cause a stir.

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2012 SEASON PREVIEW T

86 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2012 FOOTBALL PREVIEW

86-90.Denard Robinson.indd 86

A Quick Look At The Players, Games And Teams To Watch This Fall 6/12/12 4:00 PM

BY ANDY REID

he 2011 season could not have been more exciting. From the night game festivities against Notre Dame to an 11-2 finish capped by a Sugar Bowl victory, the Wolverines stormed back into the national spotlight. Michigan head coach Brady Hoke’s second year at the helm will have just as many twists, turns and, hopefully, wins. The Wolverines open the season with Alabama, play at Notre Dame at night and, of course, rekindle annual rivalries with Michigan State and Ohio State. These are the players, games and question marks that will have the biggest impact on the 2012 season.

ToP Five Players To WaTch

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TOP FIVE PLAYERS

1. Fifth-year senior center Ricky Barnum: He will have a stressful job in 2012. Barnum is moving to center, a position he hasn’t played since he was an underclassman in high school, and which is the most mentally and physically taxing along the line. And, for added pressure, he’s replacing Rimington Award-winner and AllTHE WOLVERINE 2012 FOOTBALL PREVIEW American David Molk. Barnum has not shied away from the task. Through the spring and summer, he and quarterback Denard Robinson have put in countless hours of individual voluntary work, practicing snaps, cadence and timing. If Barnum excels at the position, it could mean big things for the Wolverine offense. Fifth-year senior center Ricky Barnum will 2. Senior nose tackle Will Campbell: This is certainly be one of the most watched WolCampbell’s last chance. He arrived in Ann Arbor verines this season. photo by per kjeldsen a five-star stud prospect projected to be an unstoppable force in the middle of the field. Now 3. Freshman linebacker Joe Bolden: By all entering his senior year, he has 13 games — accounts, Bolden really made a name for himself 14, if the Wolverines earn a spot in the Big Ten during spring practice. The early enrollee didn’t championship game — to reach that potential. always know where to go — which is expected In three years, Campbell has tallied just 19 from someone just learning the playbook — but tackles in limited playing time, but he has he never shied away from a hit and flew to the earned the praise of the coaching staff this offball whenever he was on the field. season. If Campbell can be a reliable option in Bolden has been playing all three linebacker the middle of the field, eating up blocks and positions, but the Wolverines are looking for a freeing up the linebackers to make tackles, it No. 2 middle linebacker behind starter Kenny would answer a lot of questions for a defense Demens. If Bolden continues to progress, he that is replacing three starters along the line of could provide crucial depth to the linebacking scrimmage. corps.

4. Redshirt junior free safety Thomas Gordon: He began the 2011 season as the Wolverines’ starting free safety, and he looked good in the early going. Gordon recorded a career-high nine tackles in Michigan’s comeback win over Notre Dame and pitched in a career-high six unassisted tackles against San Diego State. Midway

■through 87 the season, though, his playing time

began to dwindle. He didn’t play at all in the Wolverines’ loss to Iowa, while fifth-year senior Troy Woolfolk was and more reps at the position. The coaches said Gordon is looking less tentative and more assertive back there, now. Michigan is still looking for reliable depth in the secondary, and his evolution could be a big step for the position group. 5. Fifth-year senior tight end Brandon Moore: He has just two career catches, but he finds himself the veteran leader of the tight ends. With the graduation of Kevin Koger, the Wolverines are woefully inexperienced at the position. Moore looked good in spring practice highlight videos released on MGoBlue.com. He may not have all the tools and will most likely split time with two incoming freshmen: Devin Funchess, who is a more athletic, passcatching option, and A.J. Williams, who can help out in the blocking schemes. If Moore can be a reliable blocker, he could give a boost to the Wolverines’ power run game.

6/12/12 4:18 PM getting more

2. Redshirt junior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint: Through the first half of the 2011 season, the Wolverines did not know who their go-to running back was. In the first six games he played in (he missed the Notre Dame game with an injury), Toussaint mustered just 46.5 yards per game on an average of 8.6 carries per contest. Then something clicked. In the Maize and Blue’s last five regular-season games, he ran for 678 yards, including 192 against Illinois, on 6.1 yards per carry. He figures to be a big part of the Michigan offensive attack for the next two seasons, and will be a game-breaker in 2012. 3. Redshirt junior left tackle Taylor Lewan: He certainly looks the part — he has the size, speed, strength and tenacity of a classic left tackle. And when his career is all wrapped up, Lewan will likely be a four-year starter and no doubt atop many All-American teams and NFL Draft boards. 1. Redshirt junior left tackle Taylor Lewan But this is a big year for the big man. At 6-8, 302, Lewan immediately awakens memories of another left tackle that dominated Now in his fourth year on campus, Lewan has opponents for the Wolverines: Jake Long. He has the physical tools to be an excellent player worked hard to drop the goofy vibe (among at the next level — he’s big, athletic, speedy and strong. Lewan has two more years to other things, he tattooed a mustache on the inbuild up his résumé, but he definitely has the physical foundation to be a first-round pick. side of his index finger so he could hold it above And some national pundits, such as SBNation.com’s Ryan Van Bibber, are already placing his upper lip). He has focused on becoming a Lewan in the first round of 2013 mock drafts, meaning they believe he may leave school better leader and teammate, taking on a more a year early. serious attitude. 2. Fifth-year senior right guard Patrick Omameh 4. Fifth-year senior strong safety Jordan Along with his 6-4, 299-pound frame, Omameh has excellent feet — a necessity for a Kovacs: At a place like Michigan, with its rich guard who will be expected to pull — and could project highly at the next level. history of excellence and dominance, a player By the time he wraps up his Maize and Blue career, Omameh will have nearly 45 career like Kovacs does not come around that often. starts under his belt (as long as he stays healthy in 2012). He has proven to be a very reliHe’s not an athletic specimen. If you saw him on able right guard. campus, you would be hard-pressed to distinguish him from the general student population. 3. Senior quarterback Denard Robinson During his time with the team, there have Who’s going to take a gamble? Some NFL Draft prognosticators project Robinson as a been more talented safeties on the roster, playrunning back, some as a wide receiver. Others see him as a Joshua Cribbs-type return man ers with the physical tools that Kovacs simply (Cribbs was a QB at Kent State before being converted into a wide receiver/kick returner by doesn’t possess. But he has never relinquished the Cleveland Browns). And, of course, Robinson wants to continue playing quarterback. his starting job, and he has transformed into One thing is for sure: Robinson will be one of the most explosive players in the draft, and one of the Wolverines’ most reliable defensive rb rb some team won’t be able to resist. players. 4. Senior nose tackle Will Campbell was what I wanted to see from him. He started lowering his shoulder 5. Redshirt sophomore outside linebacker timeshas for 1,295 yards (7.4 carry)people and scored 12 Starred Flint Northern His career not gone theyards wayper many thought it Prep: would, butatCampbell hasHigh oneSchool under Fred and being the big back that he is.” Jake Ryan: As a first-year starter in 2011, Ryan touchdowns andthat caught passes Jackson son of U-M running backs coach Fred Jackmore year to change and19live upfor to 208 his yards lofty(10.9 potential. FromJr.,athe scout’s point of view, tallied just 37 tackles, but got the attention of Johnson may not come in with five stars from the recruiting rankPosiTion CoaCh yards per reception) during his junior season … Listed as a … Carriedwho the ball timeslike for 1,585 Campbell is a very enticing player, because 6-5, 322-poundson linemen can150 move he yards (10.6 yards theofcoaching staff with his aggressive mindset ings or a bunch of hype, but he has Jackson’s toughness stamp four-star prospect, the No. 4 prep player in Michigan, and Fred Jackson has coached for 21 per carry) and scored 19 scores as a senior … Rambled for can don’t come around too often. Someone could take a gamble on him. and relentless motor. He was raw the No. 85 recruit nationally by Rivals.com … Invited to the approval. yearsbut withobviously U-M as the program’s man a school-record 396 yards against Bay City Central in Sept. talented. Now, with three years of eligibility 2011 U.S. Army All-American Game assenior a senior.cornerback J.T. in charge of the running backs. He 2010 … Recorded 101 tackles in his junior year … Rated a 5. Fifth-year Floyd With players like Rawls and Johnson, the Wolverines and Jackson With a healthy senior season, quarterback Taylor Lewan, a redshirt junior left tackle who meaahead of him — and more time under his belt Personal: Justice was bornwho Nov. received 24, 1992 …a draft served six seasons as assistant head three-star recruitlast and year. the No.Although 19 overall player in the state The cover man was oneWill ofHayes the players evaluation Denard Robinson should easily surpass Chad to their roots: tough, hard-nosed runners who are going are returning sures 6-8, 302 pounds, just may be the most promiswith Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Matthefair College of Literature, Science and the Arts, coach (1997-2002) and was associate Michigan Ranked as the No. 39 player Floyd hasEnrolled madeinhis share of coverage mistakes, he has of good sizeby forRivals.com a corner…(6-0, 185) Henne as Michigan's all-time career leader to fight for every last yard. ing…NFL on the entire U-M roster in 2012. tison — Ryan looks more polished, disciplined major undeclared. head coach for five years (2003-07). in theankle state on the Detroit News Blue Chip list Listedprospect as and possesses good athleticism, even after a particularly bad injury in 2010. for total offense. photo by lon horwedel “I’m very excited about getting back to power football,” Jackson and dangerous. He also served as the offensive coorthe 15th-best player in Michigan by the Detroit Free Press PHOTO BY ERIC BRONSON/BRONSONPHOTO.COM said. “That’s the way I learned how to coach backs: put them in a StePHen HoPkinS • rB dinator from 1995-96. … Garnered all-state honorable mention, all-conference situation and let them make the difference in the game. ‘It’s thirdJr. • Double oak, texas Under Jackson’s tutelage, three Wolverine running backs and all-city recognition as a sophomore, junior and senior. 76 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2012 FOOTBALL PREVIEW 2012 FooTball PrevieW ■ 77 Ht.: 6-0 • Wt.: 228 have been selected in the first round of the NFL draft — Personal: Thomas Rawls was bornThe Aug. 3,Wolverine 1993 … Enand-1, and we miss a block, you get the yard anyway. You be your Career Highlights: Appeared in 11 Tyrone Wheatley (17th in 1995), Tim Biakabutuka (eighth rolled in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, own blocker.’ Those are the kind of guys I like coaching. The guys games in 2011, starting twice at fullin 1996) and Chris Perry (26th in 2004). In 2011, Fitzgerald major undeclared. that want to have the ball in their hands, in any situation. The Michael back … Tallied 43 yards on 11 carries Toussaint became Jackson’s 12th U-M back to surpass the Jordan mentality.” ❏ 76-80.Season Preview.indd 76 2:45 PM 76-80.Season Preview.indd 77 per carry) … Earned first 6/13/12 3:19 PM (3.9 yards 1,000-yard mark 6/13/12 in a season. varsity letter in 2010 … Appeared in Jackson also coached five seasons at Wisconsin (198211 contests … Recorded 37 carries for 151 yards and four 86), serving as the Badgers’ offensive coordinator, quartouchdowns. terbacks and wide receivers coach during his years in Prep: Touted as a three-star prospect by Rivals.com … Madison. Totaled 5,010 yards and 61 touchdowns on 847 carries He began his collegiate coaching career in the MidAt 5-6, 175 pounds, senior running back Vincent Smith may not be (5.9 yards per carry) in his final three years at Marcus High American Conference as offensive coordinator, quarterphysically capable of handling the responsibilities of an every-down School, including 1,332 yards and 19 scores as a senior … backs coach and wide receivers coach at Toledo from back or running between the tackles on a regular basis. But the halfEarned all-state honorable-mention accolades as both a 1979-81. pint halfback is an invaluable member of the Wolverines’ offensive junior and senior, and earned district most valuable player philosophy. honors as a junior. reTurning Players On 61 offensive touches last year — both rushing and receiving — Personal: Born on Sept. 5, 1991 … Enrolled in the School Paul Gyarmati • FB Smith averaged a whopping 7.3 yards. And that’s not even taking into of Kinesiology, majoring in sport management. r-Sr. • Bloomfield Hills, mich. consideration his passing ability; he threw two passes last year, conyear GP/GS att. yds. avg. tD Ht.: 6-1 • Wt.: 216 necting on one with wide receiver Drew Dileo for a 17-yard touchdown 2010 11/0 37 151 4.1 4 Career Highlights: Appeared in pass in a 58-0 rout over Minnesota. 2011 11/2 11 43 3.9 0 all 13 games in a special teams role Smith amassed 298 rushing yards on 50 carries and 149 yards on 11 totals 22/2 48 194 4.0 4 in 2011 and played one game as a catches on the year. reserve fullback … Recorded three In the last 20 years, just one Michigan back has tallied a better Joe kerriDGe • FB tackles in 2010 on special teams while season-long average yards per touch, with at least 50 touches. In 1992, r-Fr. • traverse City, mich. appearing in 11 contests … Registered one tackle against Ht.: 6-0 • Wt.: 231 Tyrone Wheatley averaged an incredible 7.5 yards on 198 touches Delaware State in 2009 as a reserve outside linebacker. Career Highlights: Did not see (1,357 yards on 185 rushes, 145 yards on 13 catches). Prep: A three-year letterman at Bloomfield Hills Brother game action in 2011. Smith’s 7.3 yards per touch in 2011 and Wheatley’s 7.5 in 1992 comRice … Was a team captain as a senior, and earned firstPrep: A three-year letter winner for team all-area and all-league honors in both his junior and prise the only two performances in which a Michigan back averaged St. Francis High School … Rushed for senior seasons … Also was a two-year lacrosse letterman. better than seven yards per touch on 50 touches in the last 50 years. 2,153 yards and 34 touchdowns in his Personal: Paul Philip Gyarmati was born July 22, 1990 ... Smith’s 2009 season average ranks among the best in the last 20 prep career en route to earning AP All-State honorable Enrolled in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, years, too. mention recognition in 2009 … Was named a Detroit Free majoring in history. He ran for 276 yards on 48 carries and added 82 yards on 10 catches Press All-State punter in 2008. for 6.1 yards per touch, which ranks seventh among Michigan backs. Personal: Joseph Kerridge was born Sept. 17, 1992 ... JuStiCe HayeS • rB “You can flank him out, and he can catch the football like a wide Fullback Stephen Hopkins has carried 48 times for 194 yards and four Enrolled in the School of Kinesiology, major has yet to r-Fr. • Grand Blanc, mich. receiver,” Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson said. “You put touchdowns in his first two years at U-M, and he looks to be the Wolbe declared. Ht.: 5-10 • Wt.: 176 him in any position with a run-pass option. He’s a valuable guy in this verines' starting fullback in 2012. Career Highlights: Redshirted and Photo by lon horwedel offense.” tHomaS raWlS • rB did not see game action in 2011. Redshirt freshman fullback Joe Kerridge, Smith is not the only current Wolverine who has shown the propenthe dirty work you need of him. So can Joe. You can sleep at night, So. • Flint, mich. Prep: Graduated from Grand Blanc from Traverse City, Mich., earned honorable sity to pick up big yards. Ht.: 5-10 • Wt.: 219 thinking that these guys can do what you need them to do in order to High School … Sprinted the 40-yard mention all-state prep honors in 2009. Redshirt junior Fitzgerald Toussaint ran for 1,041 yards on 187 carries Career Highlights: Played in 10 dash in 4.45 seconds … Rushed 380 make the offense successful.” photo by lon horwedel and picked up 28 yards on six catches in 2011, averaging 5.5 yards per games, including four as a reserve runtimes for 2,624 yards (6.9 yards per carry) and 21 touchtouch. That ranks 17th in the last 20 years. VinCent SmitH • rB ning back in 2011 … Carried the ball 13 downs during his career … Rushed for 230 yards and two return To Power  Sr. • Pahokee, Fla. times for 79 yards (6.1 yards per carry) touchdowns, and posted more than 100 receiving yards The Wolverines are welcoming three new additions to the backfield Ht.: 5-6 • Wt.: 172 … Rushed for a career-high 73 yards and one touchdown, before injuring his wrist during the Yards Per Touch leaders with the 2012 class: tailbacks Drake Johnson and Dennis Norfleet, Career Highlights: Earned his third on 10 attempts (7.3 yards per attempt) against Minnesota. third game of his senior campaign … Carried the ball 175 in The last 20 Years varsity letter with 12 appearances and and fullback Sione Houma. Rk. Player Att. Yards Rec. Yards Avg. one start at running back in 2011… Norfleet is a fleet-footed scatback who can add some explosiveness rosTer 1. T. Wheatley (1992) 185 1357 13 145 7.58 Rushed for 298 yards on the ground to the offense in situational use. no. name Pos. Ht. Wt. year elig. Hometown (High School) 2. V. Smith (2011) 50 298 11 149 7.32 and two touchdowns on 50 carries “He’s hopefully a Vince Smith kind of guy,” Jackson said. “I think 99 Paul Gyarmati FB 6-1 216 5th Sr. Bloomfield Hills, Mich. (Brother Rice) 3. Wheatley (1991) 86 648 10 90 6.64 (6.0 yards per carry) … Caught 11 passes for 149 yards 5 Justice Hayes RB 5-10 176 So. Fr. Flint, Mich. (Grand Blanc Community) 4. J. Johnson (1991) 107 634 16 180 6.61 he’ll be a very good punt returner and kick returner, and catch the ball (13.5 yards per reception) and two touchdowns … Has 33 Stephen Hopkins RB 6-0 228 Jr. Jr. Double Oak, Texas (Marcus) 5. C. Brown (2009) 81 480 10 122 6.54 out of the backfield.” carried the ball 234 times for 1175 yards (5.0 yards per — Sione Houma RB 6-0 215 Fr. Fr. Salt Lake City, Utah (Highland) 6. T. Biakabutuka (1994) 126 783 8 73 6.38 The incoming player that Jackson is most excited about is, once carry) and eight touchdowns in his career … Has grabbed — Drake Johnson RB 6-1 205 Fr. Fr. Ann Arbor, Mich. (Pioneer) 7. Smith (2009) 48 276 10 82 6.17 36 catches for 361 yards (10.0 yards per reception) and two again, the player practically no one had heard of before he signed 36 Joe Kerridge FB 6-0 231 So. Fr. Traverse City, Mich. (St. Francis) 8. Biakabutuka (1995) 303 1818 5 50 6.06 touchdowns in his collegiate career … Caught a careerwith Michigan — the 6-1, 205 Johnson, whom Jackson plucked right — Dennis Norfleet RB 5-7 170 Fr. Fr. Detroit, Mich. (Martin Luther King) 9. E. Davis (1992) 61 374 3 11 6.01 long 32-yard touchdown pass against San Diego State from the Wolverines’ backyard at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School. 38 Thomas Rawls RB 5-10 219 So. So. Flint, Mich. (Flint Northern) 10. A. Thomas (2000) 319 1733 17 271 5.96 in 2011 … Recorded a rushing, passing and receiving 2 Vincent Smith RB 5-6 172 Sr. Sr. Pahokee, Fla. (Pahokee) 17. F. Toussaint (2011) 187 1041 6 28 5.53 “I’ve known him since he was in elementary school,” Jackson said. touchdown against Minnesota … Played superback in all Player had to have a minimum of 50 touches in a season to be ranked. 28 Fitzgerald Toussaint RB 5-10 195 Sr. Jr. Youngstown, Ohio (Liberty) “I watched his high school film from his sophomore year to his senior 13 contests in 2010 … Made 10 starts … Had 136 carries 1. Senior quarterback Denard Robinson: He is a special player, unlike any other in Michigan football history. Robinson has his faults — he was the only quarterback in the nation to throw 12 or more interceptions (15) with fewer than 260 passing attempts (258) last year — but Wolverine Nation loves him just the same. Mixing his dynamic athletic ability with another year under offensive coordinator Al Borges, Robinson hopes to put his most complete season together in 2012. If he stays healthy, Robinson will smash the all-time Michigan record for total offense. After posting 4,272 yards in 2010 and 3,349 in 2011, he needs just 1,141 to surpass current recordholder Chad Henne (9,300 from 2004-07). And if he does that while leading the Wolverines to another terrific season, Robinson could very well end up in New York City as a Heisman Trophy finalist at the end of the year.

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The Wolverine 2012 Football Preview  

Sample of the Michigan Football preview magazine from The Wolverine. The full issue contains over 270 full-color, glossy action-packed pages...

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