Goodbye, Hassan Haskins

Goodbye, Hassan Haskins

March 29, 2022
Hassan Haskins (image via MLive)

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Haskins was a 2-star running back to Rivals and the #1013 overall player to 247 Sports when he committed to Michigan out of Eureka (MO) Eureka in the class of 2018. I gave him a TTB Rating of 78 (LINK) and he ended up as a 247 Composite 3-star, the #49 running back, and #975 overall. A quote from my commitment post:

I’ll probably take some flak for this because people don’t understand how words work, but from a running style standpoint, Haskins reminds me a lot of Adrian Peterson. He’s not as big or as strong or as fast, but he runs with the same style and idea of physicality. He’s not a blazing runner or amazingly elusive, but he has good vision and power.

Hit the jump for more.

Haskins played in just three games as a freshman in 2018, all on special teams; during that time he mostly played linebacker in practice because the running back room seemed deep enough. However, by 2019 he had switched back to running back and became a starter by the end of the season, passing up 5-star freshman Zach Charbonnet (who has since transferred to UCLA); Haskins finished that season #2 on the team with 121 carries for 622 yards, scoring 4 touchdowns (#3 on the team). He started just two of Michigan’s six games in the shortened 2020 season, finishing with a team-high 61 carries for 375 yards and 6 touchdowns. Haskins became the unquestioned bell cow in 2021, rushing 270 times for 1,327 yards and 20 touchdowns. After all was said and done, he finished #2 in the Big Ten in yardage and #1 in touchdowns during his final season.

452 carries for 2,370 yards (5.1 yards/carry) and 30 touchdowns
24 receptions for 171 yards (7.1 yards/catch)
0/1 passing
6 tackles, 1 tackle for loss

All-American (AFCA 2nd team, AP 3rd team) in 2021
1st Team All-Big Ten in 2021
Honorable Mention All-Big Ten in 2019

Haskins was obviously underrated coming out of high school, but not only did he outplay his ranking – he turned into one of the top few running backs of the last 30 or so years at Michigan. He’s #18 in career rushing yards and #24 in career rushing attempts at Michigan, but he’s tied for #8 in touchdowns. Altogether, he had just -26 negative rushing yards for his career, which is a ridiculous number. For a comparison, here are the numbers by year for Michigan’s all-time leading rusher Mike Hart, a highly dependable running back who broke a ton of tackles: -32, -20, -39, and -58 yards. That’s an average of -37.25 yards per season, and Haskins had just -26 for his career. Haskins doesn’t have great speed, but he was so consistent and tough at 6’1″, 220 lbs. that every time he got the ball, you just expected him to gain 4 or 5 yards. The only time that changed was on short yardage, when you knew that whatever he gained would be about 6 inches beyond wherever the sticks were. He had an uncanny ability to twist and contort and duck his body just enough to get the first down.

. . . his all-time performance against Ohio State in 2021. Michigan hadn’t beaten the Buckeyes in a decade, but the Wolverines played bully ball all game and finished with a 42-27 victory. They gave Haskins 28 carries for 169 yards and 5 touchdowns. Only two players have scored 5 touchdowns in a game in Michigan history: Haskins against a highly ranked rival Ohio State, and Ron Johnson in 1968 against a lowly Wisconsin team that went 0-10. That’s not to put down Johnson, but it highlights the idea that Haskins’s performance was arguably the best – or at least one of the best – rushing performances in school history.

Despite being such a standout runner at Michigan, things get tougher at the next level. The defenders get tougher, and they get faster, too. Haskins’s speed is not a plus, and he chose not to run the 40 at the Combine or his pro day, which indicates to me that he was not expecting the 40 time to help him in the draft. If I had to guess, I would peg him as a guy who would run in the low 4.6 range, which isn’t the slowest (De’Veon Smith ran a 4.85 at Michigan’s pro day, the slowest time I remember for a running back) but doesn’t help a running back’s case, either. A team is unlikely to draft him with the goal of making him an RB1; but he is a good short yardage back who I think can be a #2 or #3 guy. He’s a solid pass protector and a guy who is willing and able to play special teams. I think he’s probably a 4th or 5th round pick for a team with a small-ish lead back, such as the Saints (Alvin Kamara) or the Vikings (Dalvin Cook).

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