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Posted on Tue, Feb 1, 2011 : 2:06 p.m.

Better than Mark Ingram? Thomas Rawls' high school coach thinks so

By Rich Rezler

Coach Fred Jackson says recent Michigan commitment Thomas Rawls is a better high school running back than Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram.

No, not Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson. He’s not allowed to comment on recruits until they sign a national letter of intent on Wednesday.

That comparison was made by Fred Jackson, the son of the veteran Michigan coach and Rawls’ coach at Flint Northern High School.

So, sure, the younger Jackson is pretty biased when it comes to ranking the Flint products. Ingram won the 2009 Heisman Trophy at Alabama two years after playing at Flint Southwestern.


Flint Northern’s Thomas Rawls, who committed to play at Michigan on Tuesday, gains some of his city-record 396 rushing yards against Bay City Central last season.

The Bay City Times

“Honestly, I did get a chance to watch Mark Ingram a few times,” Jackson told The Flint Journal. “Mark is probably one of the best guys ever to come through here. Mark was great, but there’s something about this kid Thomas. If I was to compare them as high school backs, give me Thomas Rawls.”

Michigan's Fred Jackson must have liked what he saw, too, since he was Rawls' primary recruiter.

Rawls made his Michigan commitment official during a press conference at his high school on Tuesday afternoon. He had planned to announce on Wednesday, the first day recruits can sign official letters of intent, but tonight’s expected winter storm pushed his timeline up.

Comparisons aside, Rawls did break Ingram’s single-game rushing record by a Flint player when he gained 396 yards at Bay City Central last season. He finished with 1,585 yards and 19 touchdowns on 150 carries despite being limited by injuries. The Journal said he played the equivalent of six full games.

According to, Rawls’ only scholarship offers came from Central Michigan, Cincinnati and Toledo before Michigan got involved in the mix.

The lack of scholarship offers likely had to do with Rawls’ academic standing and his stated desire to play at Michigan. The Wolverines did not offer a scholarship until he became academically qualified late in the recruiting process. Once they offered during his official visit over the weekend, Rawls accepted.


A three-star prospect according to, Rawls (5-10, 214 pounds) is ranked No. 20 on the recruiting site’s list of top players in the state of Michigan.

Michigan’s other in-state commitments include Grand Blanc running back Justice Hayes (No. 4), Plymouth defensive end Brennan Beyer (No. 5), Highland Park athlete Raymon Taylor (No. 6), Detroit Cass Tech defensive back Delonte Hollowell (No. 7) and Holland West Ottawa linebacker Desmond Morgan (No. 26).

Hayes is the only other running back in the class to date, but the current Michigan roster is deep. The team's top five backs - Vincent Smith, Michael Shaw, Stephen Hopkins, Fitzgerald Toussaint and Michael Cox - all return from last season.



Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 12:44 p.m.

Come to think of it, RR would be a head coach by now with all the perks at one of the SEC schools by now if RR had Theo as his agent, PR, butler, chef and chauffeur all rolled into one. GO BLUE!

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 1:50 p.m.

. . . and he wouldn't have to follow all of those darned rules that one is expected to follow at the "U", either. Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 11:55 a.m.

A few years ago when Mike Hart was asked what he thought of Kevin Grady Mike responded that he thought Kevin ran like Earl Campbell. Point is, it's crap shoot trying to project someones college level ability until you've seen them play at college level at a big time program like ohio state. Same goes for a new head coach new at coaching on the big stage. Haven't you boys and girls learned anything from RR? Go Blue!

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Feb 3, 2011 : 6:35 p.m.

"Hell, Murrow's Ghost uses demeaning rhetoric in almost every post." Nah. I'm just more literate than the Kool Aid drinkers and they take that literacy as in insult. Oops!! Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 10:28 p.m.

Rofl, you of all people shouldn't talk about somebody being condescending around here (what is "condensening" anyway?). Hell, Murrow's Ghost uses demeaning rhetoric in almost every post.

Blu n Tpa

Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 12:45 p.m.

"Haven't you boys and girls learned anything from RR?" I thought you stated you weren't going to post condensening and patronizing comments anymore. Calling people "boys", "girls", "son", and "kids" are all demeaning, insulting and self-serving. COACH Hoke ISN"T "new at coaching on the big stage." He has years of coaching right here at Michigan. Has several Big Ten Championships rings and a NC ring to prove it!


Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 5:43 a.m.

All I want for Christmas is a back who convert the 3rd-and-3 on a consistent basis. All else is sugar-coated goodness. Two comments in general -- 1) Rich Rodriguez's latest comments in the AP interview reinforce the notion that he's a self-serving narcissist. That is *not* a good role model for impressionable young men. Good riddance. Seriously. 2) I almost feel sorry for Theo212. Almost.


Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 3:41 a.m.

1st Down, Thanks for the Michigan HS Blue Chippers story in DetNews and wow, the #1 ranked chipper, Lawrence Thomas, has this to say about RR: Why not Michigan? They had problems. There were some past experiences with other Renaissance players that I didn't like. Plus, Rich Rodriguez sent an assistant to our school to recruit me. He wouldn't even send the defensive coordinator, just an assistant. Then we'd hear that Rich Rod would be in Florida recruiting. GO BLUE! GO HOKE!

1st Down

Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 3:15 a.m.

D21, thanks for posting some of those ridiculous finger-point, lack of accountability statements that "the deposed King" made today on ESPN. His delusional attempts to deflect responsibility for his failures at Michigan, are further proof that he is not the kind of man who should lead our program. It was only a matter of time before "The deposed King" spouted off more of these excuses. In contrast, Brady Hoke preaches "accountability" over and over and is his mantra for both himself and his staff but for the players and how they are accountable to each other as well. This is the Age of Accountability at Michigan. Recruits like Thomas Rawls know this. BTW...another interesting read is at the Det News where they ask many highly-rated in-state recruits why they did not consider Michigan....many of them pointed to "The deposed King" as the reason to discount Michigan. That will change as well. Go Blue!


Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 3:24 a.m.

1st Down, You are absolutely right about the contrast between RR and Hoke, Bo and other Michigan Men. It is sad to see RR doing this (as well as trying to claim future credit for any future success by Hoke led Wolverines) and it is so CRYSTAL clear that RR isn't even a Michigan Man after all. Thanks for your comment, man. GO BLUE


Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 3:04 a.m.

Another "not so classic" RR moment: "Witch hunt may be a little too strong of a word, but there was certainly an agenda," Rodriguez said. "That initial article that came out was agenda-driven to be as negative as it could be on Rich Rodriguez and what he was doing with the football program." Hmm, RR referring to himself as the third person, weird. Here is my ode to the great RR and Theo by modifying Josh Groban's song, "You Raise Me Up". "Theo Raise RR Up" When RR is down and, oh RR's soul, so weary; When troubles come and RR's heart burdened be; Then, RR is still and wait here in the silence, Until Theo come and sit awhile with RR. Theo raise RR up, so RR can stand on mountains; Theo raise RR up, to walk on stormy seas; RR is strong, when RR is on your shoulders; Theo raise RR up... To more than RR can be. Theo raise RR up, so RR can stand on mountains; Theo raise RR up, to walk on stormy seas; RR is strong, when RR is on Theo's shoulders; Theo raise RR up... To more than RR can be. There is no life - no life without Theo's hunger; Theo's and RR's restless hearts beats so imperfectly; But when Theo come and RR is filled with wonder, Sometimes, RR think RR glimpse eternity With Theo at RR's side forever and ever.


Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 3:15 p.m.

Is it true that RR said to DB right after he fired him "RR is getting upset" ? (like in Seinfeld)


Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 3:29 a.m.

Correction: Line 7 should have read, "RR is strong, when RR is on Theo's shoulders". :)

1st Down

Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 3:16 a.m.



Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 2:59 a.m.

Young men come together with accolades in their past, a great coach brings them together to meet their goals and expectations, a great coach makes them a team. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 2:41 a.m.

Hey dudes, Regarding RR's quotes: &quot;Whatever I say in that regard is probably going to sound self-serving,&quot; Rodriguez said. &quot;Would it have been better for the staff to know a month ahead? No question about it. When jobs come open in the college level they come open in December. &quot;And had I been able to get on somewhere, that could have happened, too. I may have been able to get another head coaching job then.&quot; ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Geez RR, why didn't you sacrifice the $1.5 million by asking Brandon to give you the answer in early December so you and the staff can find better jobs elsewhere but no, you chose money over integrity &amp; your staff, family and Theo212.


Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 3:15 a.m.

I'm fairly sure it was because he didn't want to lose his job in the first place... Crazy thought, I know.


Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 1:55 a.m.

There's going to be some guys who fall by the side, but the guys who stay will be champions. They will represent Michigan in the classroom and in the community and on the field with a high expectation.&quot;...HOKE


Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 1:04 a.m.

Kid does remind me of mike hart... But faster... Good pickup of a under the radar impact player...! Go blue


Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 12:37 a.m.

I think most of this class will red shirt on the offense. On the D I think we will receive an immediate upgrade.'GO BLUE'


Tue, Feb 1, 2011 : 11:53 p.m.

Facts of life: Crystal&gt;RR Crystal=Hoke Crystal+Hoke=Pure Crystal


Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 3:07 a.m.

JaySham, Yes, what an amazing athlete and I can only wish Rawls the best in the classroom as well on the field.


Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 2:36 a.m.

JaySham, Thanks and the same to many great posters in here including yourself. Didja see RR whine today? I'm gonna post something below soon. GO BLUE!


Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 12:07 a.m.

Well said D21 and by the way the E. Lansing CC stats for D_ _ _ Y was legendary. So have you checked his highlights on youtube? He has a very impressive burst with his thickness. Can't wait to see this kid develope over the next 4-5 years and lets hope we finish real strong tommorow. Go Blue!


Tue, Feb 1, 2011 : 11:52 p.m.

&quot;The lack of scholarship offers likely had to do with Rawls' academic standing and his stated desire to play at Michigan. The Wolverines did not offer a scholarship until he became academically qualified late in the recruiting process. Once they offered during his official visit over the weekend, Rawls accepted&quot;. Let's hope he has learned what it takes to stay eligible at the college level. I wish him the best because he looks like a talented player.


Tue, Feb 1, 2011 : 11:14 p.m.

I'd like to point out the last great Michigan running back, Mike Hart, was also a three star recruit out of high school. Hart was highly beloved by his high school and running backs coaches yet was severely underrated by scouts. I will take the word of a coach over that of some know-it-all scout any day. This kid can play.


Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 12:04 a.m.

&quot;Stop hating?&quot; Hypocrisy much?


Tue, Feb 1, 2011 : 11:51 p.m.

Well if you watch this kids highlight film on youtube and also being that the league that he plays in has high level caliber teams such as Bay City Central, Bay City Western, Midland, Midland Dow, Saginaw High, Saginaw Arthur Hill, Saginaw Heritage, Mount Pleasant, Flint Southwestern, Flint Northern he isn't playing against cupcake high school teams and Michigan waited to offer this kid to make sure he qualified with academics first unlike the &quot;King&quot; who never fully realized that kids needed to have certain requirements to qualify for enrollment at UM. Just stop hating or go root for another school. GO BLUE!!!


Tue, Feb 1, 2011 : 11:28 p.m.

Those &quot;know-it-all scouts&quot; are paid to find talent. Highschool coaches are paid to coach whoever tries out for the team.


Tue, Feb 1, 2011 : 11:03 p.m.

Only player better than Ingram is Dee Hart. When we lost Our King, We lost our Hart. It wasn't needed, But we have a new start. We'll root for Blue, We'll root for Hoke. Crystal soon, Or it's a choke.


Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 4:57 a.m.

A couple of Megadeth verses which aptly describe the RR era (error) Broken down, feeling naked Leaving me unfulfilled Promising compromise Championing mediocrity I reveal a deceiver In the highest seat in the land His idle hands the Devil's workshop Generate more smoke than heat


Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 3:13 a.m.

He didn't blame anybody for anything in the whole article. Not once. He said he didn't have the support he wished he'd had, and that's absolutely positively true.


Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 2:45 a.m.

MB, Ghost, 1st. Great replies, dudes.

1st Down

Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 1:41 a.m.

Choke = The King's delusional comments today on ESPN... as usual pointing the fingers at others and blaming them for the problems that he caused.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Tue, Feb 1, 2011 : 11:52 p.m.

Choke = 1-13 against MSU/OSU/PSU/Iowa/Wisky Choke = 0-12 against Big Ten teams with winning records Choke = 2-11 against Top 25 teams Choke = 110th rated defense in the FBS Choke = First NCAA probation in program history Choke = Worst bowl loss in program history


Tue, Feb 1, 2011 : 11:41 p.m.

Choke = 6-18 in the Big Ten


Tue, Feb 1, 2011 : 10:44 p.m.

I really like this kid Rawls, he has a nice burst and can run away from defenders once he is out in the open field. With Justice Hayes and Rawls we have a Thunder &amp; Lightning combo package for the future. Hopefully this will develope into Cadillac Williams &amp; Ronnie Brown type duo that Auburn had back in 2004. Just have to see how this all works out. In watching his highlights on youtube he kind of reminds me of a Larry Johnson/Anthony Thomas back who can run you over or run past you. And by the way fellas were currently ranked 24 now at Rivals and we are gonna get higher after at least 3 more commit later. After all the drama that was going on with the firing of the &quot;King&quot; and the hiring of the &quot;Incredible Hoke&quot; not to mention the Gator Bowl beatdown we are going to reel in a pretty good recruiting class consider the circumstances. Can't wait till signing day! GO BLUE!!!


Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 12:54 a.m.

Not that it means anything, but 3. And all 3 of them hare killing Michigan (and most other schools) in quality of recruits.The &quot;average stars&quot; for Michigan has actually gone down in the last 45 days. Recruiting classes are measured on size and quality across the board. Michigan's class was very small until recently, presumably because kids were waiting to see what was going on with the coaching situation. My point is that we were headed to where we're headed either way, so I don't quite understand why everybody is so excited that our ranking is going up. As if the ranking matters anyway. Texas has had a top 5 recruiting class in 4 of the last 5 years, and they have coaches who have proven they can coach, yet they went 5-7 this year.

Blu n Tpa

Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 12:36 a.m.

Dusty how many teams have fewer recruits than Michigan in the Too 25?


Tue, Feb 1, 2011 : 11:27 p.m.

The ranking is going up because of the number of recruits, nothing more. The average rank of the recruits isn't going up.


Tue, Feb 1, 2011 : 10:33 p.m.

Good luck to the young man at Michigan. But really 5 years ago this kid would not have even sniffed an offer from Michigan.

1st Down

Wed, Feb 2, 2011 : 1:37 a.m.

BTW... lets go back and look at the star RBs for Michigan the last 20 years... Mike Hart 3 star from NY that no one thought could compete in the Big Ten (except Lloyd Carr)... 'too small, too slow, didnt play vs. good competition in HS...blah blah blah. Kelly Baraka #3 RB in the country...smoked out of the program as a freshman, last seen in the arena league and as an MMA fighter, believe it or not... Kevin Grady #3 RB in country... mostly meh career at Michigan, early knee injury and never displayed the cuts, speed or power that he did in field issues as well... Chris Perry #13 in country...excellent Michigan career and some pro career Justin Fargas #2 in country.... early injury, position switches and eventually transferred to USC where he was decent enough to parlay it into a surprisingly long NFL career with the Raiders, but an overall bust at Michigan. Anthony Thomas 4-star RB from LA...great Michigan career, ended up with nice NFL career for a while Tim Biakabatuka... barely known RB from Canada, showed enough to get Michigan scholie....had a great career at UM, shortened due to injury in NFL... Bottom line: With RBs it is hit or miss....some low stars end up as real stars...other highly ranked kids flame out. This is not unusual in college football.... and not just specific to Michigan.

1st Down

Tue, Feb 1, 2011 : 11:05 p.m.

Mike Hart. Nuff said. Try again.


Tue, Feb 1, 2011 : 10:57 p.m.

Mike Hart, Michigan's primary running back five years ago, was a three-star recruit the same as Thomas Rawls. He more than sniffed an offer from Michigan. I don't think there is any question Michigan's overall recruiting class-quality this year will be rated lower than it has been for years, most likely due to the coaching staff changes, but Michigan very often pursues recruits of Rawls' caliber. Let's hope Fred Jackson and the rest of the Michigan coaching staff can coach up this year's recruiting class to live up to the likes of Mike Hart. Go Blue!


Tue, Feb 1, 2011 : 10:10 p.m.

If he can stay eligible academically and remains healthy, he has the potential to be a good short-yardage back along with Hopkins. Some of the other backs are good for long yardage situations because of their speed and quickness. I'd have Rawls and Hopkins run inside for a diversified running attack.


Tue, Feb 1, 2011 : 9:20 p.m.

Rawls is a VERY underrated player by most accounts, Mr. Jackson's hyperbole notwithstanding. He may very well be the steal of this Midwest class. It's never easy to forecast since Rawls has never played against college competition where everyone is bigger and faster. But hopefully, Mr. Rawls will be able to redshirt his first year and get grounded in the academics while getting some strength and running coaching. Welcome to Michigan Thomas!