|Spring 2010: Walk-on Phil Monolo, Stephen Hopkins, Michael Shaw, coach Fred Jackson,
Fitzgerald Toussaint, John McColgan, and Vincent Smith
Junior fullback Stephen Hopkins has left the football program. He tweeted that he would get his degree from Michigan. Hopkins was recruited by former Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez to play tailback in the spread offense, but he was just occasionally effective as a runner. As a freshman in 2010, he had 37 carries for 151 yards (4.1 yards/carry) and 4 touchdowns. When Brady Hoke arrived in 2011, that signaled a move to fullback for Hopkins, who proceeded to run just 11 times for 43 yards (3.9 yards/carry) as a sophomore, along with 1 catch for 28 yards. Hopkins played as a blocking fullback in 2012 but never touched the ball. Altogether, he ends his Michigan career with 48 carries for 194 yards (4.0 yards/carry) and 4 touchdowns, with that 1 reception for 28 yards added on.
Hopkins’s departure is one of the losses that I had heard to be rumored last offseason. Hopkins seemed not to be thrilled with the fullback’s role in the offense, since he came to Michigan to be a tailback. He decided to give it one more go in 2012, but his commitment seemed to be iffy. He lost playing time to a less physically talented player in the form of redshirt freshman Joey Kerridge, and not touching the ball all year likely bothered him. By comparison, Kerridge had 1 reception for 12 yards against Nebraska and was targeted a couple more times throughout the year, in particular on a wheel route against Notre Dame. Hopkins did a poor job of blocking in the Ohio State game, and it seemed like he wasn’t really giving 100%.
Hopkins’s departure leaves just two fullbacks on the roster – Kerridge and freshman Sione Houma. Sophomore Thomas Rawls might have the ability to contribute some at fullback, and 2013 recruit Wyatt Shallman has some potential there, too. However, this shouldn’t be a huge concern, because the fullback position can often be filled by walk-ons and position-switchers.
This is the 14th member of the 2010 recruiting class to depart early from Rich Rodriguez’s largely doomed class. The class of juniors and redshirt sophomores is already down by more than 50%, and a couple remaining members of that same class have yet to see the field (Jordan Paskorz, Ken Wilkins). However, this opens up a 24th scholarship for the class of 2013. The coaches are expected to take at least 25 commitments in February.
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