Jake Rudock developed a reputation for protecting the ball in his career with the Hawkeyes, but has performed uncharacteristically this season with the Wolverines.
With Jim Harbaugh back, there are plenty of reasons for Michigan football fans to be excited about the upcoming season.
The last FBS transfer the Michigan Wolverines accepted was quarterback Steven Threet, who left Georgia Tech and went to Ann Arbor before the 2007 season. The lone season he spent playing for the Wolverines wasn’t anything special, and his career sort of diminished at that point.
But now Michigan welcomes another transfer to its team, running back Ty Isaac, who is making the move from USC in order to be closer to his ill mother. Isaac has applied for a hardship waiver which would grant him immediate eligibility. Whether or not the NCAA will grant that request remains a mystery, but if he is allowed to play this 2014 season, watch out; Michigan may have just added a third member to a deadly trio in the backfield.
Sophomore running backs Derrick Green and De’Veon Smith are already in the mix for the Wolverines. Green rushed for 260 yards on 83 carries last season, while Smith pounded out 117 yards on a fraction of the attempts. No, those aren’t numbers that lead you to believe you’re witnessing the play of two great backs, but I’m not quick to blame them for the lack of production. Rather, I blame an offensive line that was quite terrible when it came to opening holes for the ground attack. Those are issues hopefully being resolved by a full offseason with line coach Darrell Funk and new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.
The Wolverines are expecting to receive full production from Green and Smith this season as they each head into their second year of action at this level. The same goes for Isaac, who rushed for 236 yards and two touchdowns last season with the Trojans. Having all three of these talented backs at full production would mean great things for a Michigan offense that desperately needs to take a little pressure off quarterback Devin Gardner. One reason I think this three-back system could work has nothing to do with the players themselves, but more so the staff
Had all of this taken place last summer, it’s difficult to imagine former offensive coordinator Al Borges attempting to utilize a three-back system. He was very set on finding a feature back for his offense. I don’t think the chance would have even been there. Nussmeier, on the other hand, will not squander this wonderful opportunity to perhaps field one of the best running back units in the Big 10 this season and, because all three are only sophomores, a few more years to come.
The potential is certainly there; we’re talking about a very talented group of athletes who can both pop the pads and break loose on the run. Michigan could very well have just gained the third member to its triple-headed monster in the backfield. For now, we await the NCAA’s decision regarding Isaac’s eligibility. Looking forward, though, the lights are shining brightly.
With yet another highly-touted transfer hitting the college market, not many people knew what to think of USC Trojans running back Ty Isaac. After just one season in Southern California, Isaac decided he wanted to move closer to his home in Illinois to be near his sick mother.
After some time and a few visits to other schools, Isaac has decided he will be attending Michigan in the fall, giving the Wolverines a much-needed boost at the running back position.
Although Isaac was a five-star running back out of high school, this addition means very little to the Wolverines right now — or at least they should see that. Sure, he was one of the best high school running backs in the 2013 class, but he hasn’t proved anything yet.
With the possibility of sitting out a season due to NCAA transfer rules — he’s applying for a hardship waiver because of his sick mother — Isaac may not even play until 2015.
He has what it takes to be a star at the collegiate level, but the running back is only as good as the offensive line. The best lineman from 2013, Taylor Lewan, is now in the NFL and Michigan’s offensive line isn’t exactly known for great run blocking.
Michigan averaged just 102nd in the nation in 2013 in terms of rushing yards per game.
To think that the addition of a running back that hasn’t proven anything yet will tremendously improve the run game is just ridiculous — especially after losing top running back Fitzgerald Toussaint.
Don’t get your hopes up, Michigan fans.
Connor Muldowney is the Content Associate for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While the USC Trojans have struggled with depth issues at many positions in recent years, the one position they have been loaded with talent is at running back. Last season, USC had five different running backs log at least 40 carries as injuries forced the team to find new options out of the backfield. While that depth is great for the team, at least one member of that logjam has had enough as Ty Isaac has announced that he will transfer for 2014.
Isaac came to USC as the No. 13 rated athlete in the 2013 recruiting class and showed tremendous promise at running back. The 6-foot-3, 217-pound freshman was electric when he was able to find his way onto the field and finished his first year on campus with 40 carries for 236 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Despite his talent, however, Isaac faced the prospect of being the No. 4 option on the depth chart this fall and made the decision to transfer closer to home.
When getting recruited out of Joliet Catholic Acadamy near Chicago, Isaac narrowed his top three schools down to USC, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and the Michigan Wolverines before ultimately signing with the Trojans. Both teams could be back in play for the talented athlete as he makes his return to the midwest, though USC could potentially block a move to Notre Dame as the Irish are an annual fixture on the Trojans’ schedule.
If Isaac decides to re-open his recruitment completely, other options are available to him. His high school teammate Malin Jones has found a home with the Northwestern Wildcats and could help lure Isaac to Evanston. The Illinois Fighting Illini could also be in play if proximity to home is truly the deciding factor in this transfer.
Whatever he decides, the Trojans will lose a major talent out of the backfield. But don’t feel too bad for Steve Sarkisian as USC still boasts a strong running back group led by Javorius Allen (774 yards, 14 touchdowns in 2013), Tre Madden (703, 3) and Justin Davis (361, 6). At the end of the day, there was just too much talent in the backfield to make everyone happy and Isaac will have to continue his promising career elsewhere.