All-Time Career Rushing Yardage Leaders

All-Time Career Rushing Yardage Leaders

September 14, 2020
Mike Hart

I thought I had already created this post, but I guess not. So here are the all-time leading rushers in Michigan history:

Hit the jump for the dudes.

  1. 5,040 yards – Mike Hart (2004-2007)
  2. 4,495 yards – Denard Robinson (2009-2012)
  3. 4,472 yards – Anthony Thomas (1997-2000)
  4. 4,392 yards – Jamie Morris (1984-1987)
  5. 4,178 yards – Tyrone Wheatley (1991-1994)
  6. 3,850 yards – Butch Woolfolk (1978-1981)
  7. 3,696 yards – Chris Perry (2000-2003)
  8. 3,307 yards – Rob Lytle (1973-1976)
  9. 3,072 yards – Billy Taylor (1969-1971)
  10. 2,902 yards – Gordon Bell (1973-1975)
  11. 2,810 yards – Tshimanga Biakabutuka (1993-1995)
  12. 2,751 yards – Lawrence Ricks (1979-1982)
  13. 2,624 yards – Harlan Huckleby (1975-1978)
  14. 2,622 yards – Karan Higdon (2015-2018)
  15. 2,554 yards – Ricky Powers (1990-1993)
  16. 2,550 yards – Russell Davis (1975-1978)
  17. 2,417 yards – Ron Johnson (1966-1968)
  18. 2,333 yards – Ed Shuttlesworth (1971-1973)
  19. 2,290 yards – Fitzgerald Toussaint (2010-2013)
  20. 2,247 yards – Tony Boles (1987-1989)
  21. 2,235 yards – De’Veon Smith (2013-2016)
  22. 2,206 yards – Stanley Edwards (1977-1981)
  23. 2,176 yards – Rick Leach (1975-1978)
  24. 1,995 yards – Chuck Heater (1972-1974)
  25. 1,986 yards – Clarence Williams (1995-1998)

The closest guy for Michigan’s current team is Chris Evans with 1,712 yards, who could have easily jumped into the top 20 with a full season in 2020.


  1. Comments: 359
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Sep 15, 2020 at 9:19 AM

    Looking at this list I tried to make sense of it. With the exception of the Ron Johnson years I have been actively following the team. So, this is my sense of it. If I am wrong, I’m wrong but I will own it.

    I can’t even really remember some of these guys from the seventies. In part because radio dominated especially when we didn’t go to a bowl. This I know: our style of play, three yards and a cloud of dust, tough as hell workman on the line especially, and run the RB through holes “you could drive a truck through” was plenty acceptable when we had all those scholarships. And conference play didn’t include the SEC and the Nebraska’s and Oklahoma’s of the day.

    Eventually, we open up the offense some and get more run/pass balance. Now I can see on TV the athletes and speed we recruit (when of course we do). See Biakabutuka, the size and speed of Woolfolk (although early years) and Wheatley. The workhorses remain in Thomas and Morris.

    At the top we get Robinson with great speed and otherworldly quickness benefiting from the QB run option offensive system. Hart’s balance and vision, no quit attitude, and ball security overcame his lack of size and speed.

    What I really give Hart credit for was taking his game to the college level and more than getting the job done. Although his high school stats were great many just could’t believe he could succeed at the B!G level to anywhere near that degree. So every-time after him we landed a 5 star RB that never showed up on the field I give Hart some love.

    I do not agree with “RBs don’t matter”, but I agree that a plodding offensive system in today’s game and poor OL blocking for them sure as hell does.

    • Comments: 6285
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Sep 15, 2020 at 12:17 PM

      If your OL can block well consistently, QB and WRs are a threat that keeps the safeties honest, and you have a good offensive system to take advantage of those, your RB will be productive.

      Regardless of ability. As long as he is a D1 replacement-level as a ball-carrier like Tru Wilson, Drake Johnson, Derrick Green, Michael Shaw, Vincent Smith, Ty Isaac, Justice Hayes and countless others. All of these guys are great athletes who were stars at the High School level and can get the job done in a well functioning college offense.

      • Comments: 6285
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Sep 15, 2020 at 12:28 PM

        The differences in playing time for these type of guys tends to be more about who will not screw up their blocking assignments and who will not fumble. Less about who can take a 25 yard run and make it a 75 yard run on the one or two times a season against cupcakes or backups.

        If you don’t have the above ingredients you want a guy like Mike Hart or Deveon Smith who can MAKE EXTRA YARDS. If you do have all of the above ingredients, and all of them are similar in fumbling and blocking, then it’s time to start parsing who can MAKE BIG PLAYS. In that context, once every 100 carries vs once every 30 can make a big difference.

        But again, it’s just as, if not more, important if you fumble every 30 times instead of every 100 or if you’re blowing your blitz pickup every 10 times instead of every 30.

        I think we all know that Michigan hasn’t had all the above ingredients in place all that often in the last 15 years, especially on the OL. IMO, the RBs who have made a noticeable impact on outcomes the last 15 yards are Vincent Smith (as a blocker and pass catcher to complement Denard) and Deveon Smith (because he made lemonade out of OL lemons). There hasn’t been a great back, and if there have been MAKE BIG PLAYS guys they have also been MAKE BIG MISTAKES guys.

  2. Comments: 35
    Joined: 10/6/2019
    Sep 15, 2020 at 12:30 PM

    Thunder, are you going to continue with the countdown?

    • Comments: 3845
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Sep 15, 2020 at 12:45 PM

      Yeah, the next post is set to go up tomorrow morning, actually.

You must belogged in to post a comment.