Fitzgerald Toussaint, young running backs ready for bigger roles at Michigan
“He’s a good player,” Jackson said. “I’ve seen enough. I didn’t have my blinders on.”
Vincent Smith, Michigan’s top returning rusher at the running back position with 276 yards, is out for the spring after tearing his ACL in the Ohio State game.
Smith, a sophomore, is expected to be ready for fall practice, Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said.
“I got five or six guys here that I got to make a decision on at the end of spring to see how we’re going to shape up for camp,” Jackson said. “I don’t know what to expect from of a lot of them, but I think we have enough talent to have an excellent group. It’s just a fact that I have not had a chance to put them all on an equal playing field yet, and once I do I’ll know a lot more.”
In all likelihood, Michigan will play a committee of running backs again next year, though Toussaint and Smith are best equipped to handle a feature role.
Toussaint would have played last year if not for his preseason injury, while Smith was Michigan’s most effective running back for most of November. He had a 166-yard rushing game against Delaware State, and caught seven passes out of the backfield against Wisconsin.
Rodriguez said he felt good enough about his team’s talent at running back that the position wasn’t a “need” area in recruiting this year.
“It (was) a position of concern with experience, but it wasn’t as much of a need,” he said. We’ve got “some young guys that we think are about ready to take the next step up. With Brandon and Carlos, they had a lot of experience and they had kind of been there, done that. But the young guys have enough talent. They can do it.”
Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.