Columbia (SC) Hammond running back C.J. Stokes committed to Michigan on Saturday. He picked the Wolverines over offers from Penn State, South Carolina, and West Virginia, among others.
Stokes is listed at 5’11” and 190 lbs.
Rivals: 3-star, 5.6 grade, #50 RB
247 Sports: 3-star, 87 grade, #42 RB
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Stokes was offered by the previous South Carolina staff and Will Muschamp, but not by current coach Shane Beamer. Michigan offered in March 2021. Getting players out of SEC country is always tricky, but Michigan stayed on Stokes and there was always a little buzz about him. With the Wolverines landing Donovan Edwards in the 2021 class, it was unlikely that a highly rated player would follow in the next class.
Stokes is a solidly built runner whose best attribute is his balance. He has good vision and an ability to plant his foot in the ground and get north-south quickly, sometimes using a jump cut. He runs low to the ground and can survive high tackle attempts by ducking underneath. He shows good patience and a willingness to set up his blocks in the open field. Stokes also displays some ability in the passing game.
The #1 thing Stokes lacks is breakaway speed. He does not have the burst to outrun angles, and he gets chased down by players who do not necessarily have great speed themselves.
Overall, Stokes is a decent player who represents my concern with Mike Hart (his primary recruiter) as a running backs coach: Will Hart tend to recruit nifty, hard-to-tackle runners like himself who have limited upside? I have a somewhat out-of-left-field comparison for Stokes, but I’m going with my first instinct: former Oregon running back Onterrio Smith, who had a short NFL career with the Vikings. Smith was a guy who was shifty and a little physical but didn’t outrun many people.
Michigan now has eight commitments in the 2022 class, and Stokes is the first (and only?) running back after the Wolverines took two in 2021 (Edwards and Tavierre Dunlap). Stokes is also the first commitment from South Carolina since offensive guard/defensive tackle Quinton Washington signed with Rich Rodriguez’s squad in 2009.
TTB Rating: 59 (ratings explanation)
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