Cole Cabana, Wolverine

Cole Cabana, Wolverine

February 5, 2022
Dexter (MI) Dexter running back Cole Cabana (image via List23)

Dexter (MI) Dexter running back Cole Cabana committed to Michigan on Saturday afternoon. He picked the Wolverines over offers from Michigan State, Pitt, Purdue, and West Virginia, among others.

Cabana is listed at 6’0″ and 180 lbs. He claims a 10.69 in the 100 meters and recently ran a laser-timed 4.31-4.34 in the 40. He also has a 235 lb. bench and a 4.1 shuttle time. As a junior in 2021, he ran for 1,688 yards and scored 28 total touchdowns.

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Cabana grew up a Michigan State fan despite living close to Ann Arbor. He started getting offers after his sophomore year, but the big ones for him didn’t come until his junior film started being passed around. He was offered by MSU in October and then Michigan in January. Despite seeming like a lean to the Spartans earlier, the visit to Michigan and a developing relationship with running backs coach Mike Hart pushed the Wolverines over the edge.

The most obvious strength for Cabana is his speed. He has very good acceleration and top-end speed. The only time anyone really seems to track him down from behind on film is when he’s running through the muck of a rain-soaked and muddy field. When he’s on turf (Michigan plays on turf!), he’s explosive. Cabana has good short-area lateral quickness and can make people miss by putting pressure on them with his speed. He can also be effective in the screen and receiving game.

Cabana does not play with much power and does not drive his feet after contact. Especially if he gets his shoulder turned, he struggles to break tackles, and he does not necessarily have great cutting ability. Sometimes when he gets running toward the sideline, he struggles to plant his foot and find a crease upfield. I also do not see a great willingness to step up and help out in pass protection.

Overall, I think Cabana is a pretty classic case of a finesse type of running back, a guy who can run real fast but will struggle with the physical aspects of the game. There is a place for those types of players, but it’s probably not as an every down back. I think he has some similarities to former Michigan running back Drake Johnson, a track star who never topped 60 carries in a season. Johnson had some injury issues, but he still occasionally popped off a nice run and even had a long screen catch for a touchdown against Maryland.

If it were up to me, I would try to use Cabana much like Michigan used Donovan Edwards in 2021: mostly as a change-of-pace type guy who can go in motion, get the ball in space, and maybe line up out wide. While I think Edwards will advance beyond that into more of an all-around back, I’m not sure that Cabana will. I would also get Cabana out into a pass pattern rather than trying to use him as a protector.

Michigan now has five commitments in the class of 2023, including fellow offensive skill players Semaj Morgan, a wide receiver, and Andrew Rappleyea, a tight end. Dexter does not typically produce much in the way of Division I talent, and the last couple Michigan players from there have been in the form of kicker Karl Kerska and defensive back Matt Mitchell.

TTB Rating: 73

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