What Michigan is Looking For in its Third Running Back

tru wilson michigan running back

What Michigan is Looking For in its Third Running Back

Football

What Michigan is Looking For in its Third Running Back

One of the big questions for Michigan this offseason is who will emerge as the Wolverines third running back.

Last season, it was obvious that it was going to be a three-headed monster, with Chris Evans, Karan Higdon and Ty Isaac sharing the load. Guys like O’Maury Samuels and Kareem Walker got some run late in the season as well.

Now, the complexion of the room is a little bit different, with Walker having transferred from the program and Isaac having exhausted his intercollegiate eligibility. Michigan adds two true freshmen in Christian Turner and Hassan Haskins, as well as graduate walk-on Berkley Edwards, who joins the Wolverines after having spent the rest of his college career in Minnesota.

Coming out of spring ball, an unlikely name had emerged as a potential third-back behind Evans and Higdon — walk-on Tru Wilson, who converted from having been a safety a year ago. Michigan running backs coach Jay Harbaugh says that Wilson is still under consideration for that third spot, and early on in fall camp, he’s continuing to make an impact.

“Three spot is still a competition, and Tru is definitely in that mix, and is certainly, as of right now, doing a lot of great things to vouch for himself in that spot,” Harbaugh said.

But the bigger question remains — what is Michigan looking for in that role? Is it looking strictly for a change of pace guy, a short-yardage guy, a do-it-all type guy?

There are plenty of options, and Harbaugh broke down what he would like to see from a potential third tailback that would spell the starters in the rotation.

“There’s a lot of different ways to approach that, and it’s really a role, right?” Harbaugh said. “Chris and Karan are starting running backs. It’s a one-one punch. Not many teams have that. The third job, you want to have a guy that’s really reliable. If, God forbid, something happened, you’ve got a guy that’s ready to roll that can do everything.

“Now, the other way to look at it is that you could have a protection guy who – this guy is really exceptional at this, and he can play a protection role, or maybe a guy is exceptional as a route runner, whatever. There’s different niches you can have, as long as you’re on the travel roster to play in the backfield. But really, when you talk about the third spot, you’re looking for the next best all around guy.”

We won’t know for certain how that competition will shake out until Michigan takes the field for its Week One contest at Notre Dame on September 1 at 7:30PM.

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