Running Back Preview: Michigan vs. Virginia Tech

Tag: David Wilson

16Dec 2011
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Running Back Preview: Michigan vs. Virginia Tech

David Wilson

Starter: Redshirt sophomore Fitzgerald Toussaint began the season alternating with junior Vincent Smith, but Toussaint quickly took the lead in the race to be the lead back.  Toussaint finished the season with 174 carries for 1,011 yards (5.8 yards per carry) and 9 touchdowns.  Toussaint has the toughness to break tackles, the stop-and-go moves to make people miss, and enough speed to be a breakaway threat.  Sophomore fullback Stephen Hopkins has carried 11 times for 43 yards (3.9 yards per carry).
Backups: Smith is the third down and change-of-pace back.  He rushed the ball 49 times for 296 yards (6.0 yards per carry) and 2 touchdowns.  Despite being only 5’6″ and 172 lbs., he’s the superior blocker.  Smith has also caught 10 passes for 142 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Senior Michael Shaw is the next guy in; he finished the regular season with 31 carries for 199 yards (6.4 yards per carry) and 3 touchdowns.

Junior David Wilson has started all 13 games and finished the season with 266 carries for 1,627 yards (6.0 yards per carry) and 9 touchdowns.  Wilson has also caught 21 passes for 126 yards (6.0 yards per catch) and 1 touchdown.  Redshirt junior fullback Joey Phillips has 3 carries for 2 yards on the season with zero touchdowns; he has yet to catch a pass.
Backups: Fifth year senior Josh Oglesby has 90 carries for 336 yards (3.7 yards per carry) and 6 touchdowns.  Redshirt sophomore Tony Gregory has the next most carries with 16 for just 27 yards (1.7 yards per carry).

Wilson is the more accomplished back.  He leads Toussaint in yardage and yards per carry.  Wilson has at least one explosive play (20+ yards) in 10 out of his 13 games, and his only sub-80-yard rushing effort of the season came against Clemson in the ACC Championship.  Toussaint is also less effective and almost non-existent in the passing game (5 catches, 14 yards, 1 touchdown) than Wilson.  Fortunately for Michigan the Wolverines have significantly more depth at the position with two backups who have starting experience and a fullback who can run a little bit, too.  If there’s an injury to either running back, Michigan is more able to withstand the blow.

Running back play is largely dependent on the offensive line (which we’ll discuss another day), but this is a near wash when both teams are at full strength.  Wilson is not only the First Team All-ACC running back, but has also been voted the conference’s top overall player and was recently voted to the All-America team.  Toussaint would very likely have been All-Big Ten if not for the early-season platoon and missing one game due to injury.  With a superior fullback and experienced, potentially explosive backups, I have to give the advantage to . . .
Advantage: Michigan

6Dec 2011
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A Peek at Virginia Tech’s Roster

David Wilson was one of ten Hokies recruited by Michigan.

Here’s a brief look at the players on Virginia Tech’s roster that Michigan recruited when they were in high school:

Nick Acree – OT – Redshirt freshman
Acree (Fork Union/King William, VA) is a 6’5″, 278 lb. position changer from defensive tackle, the position for which Michigan recruited him.  He has yet to see game action.

Detrick Bonner – CB – Redshirt freshman
Bonner (Luelia/McDonough, GA) is a 6′, 189 lb. cornerback who has played in 12 games and started 3 of them.  In those 12 contests he has made 26 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery, and 3 pass breakups.

Kris Harley – DT – Freshman
Harley (Warren Central/Indianapolis, IN) is a 6′, 287 lb. defensive tackle who is taking a redshirt during his freshman season.

Cris Hill – CB – Fifth year senior
Hill (Highland Springs/Richmond, VA) is a 5’11”, 180 lb. cornerback who has made 7 career starts, including 5 this season.  On the season he has 33 tackles, 1 interception, and 6 pass breakups.

Jayron Hosley – CB – Junior
Hosley (Atlantic/Delray Beach, FL) is a 5’10”, 171 lb. cornerback.  Much was expected of him after last season when he made 9 interceptions, but he has had a slightly disappointing year in 2011.  This year he has 59 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 3 interceptions, 8 pass breakups, 1 fumble recovery, and 2 forced fumbles.  That’s a pretty good year for most corners.  Hosley is also a dangerous punt returner with 2 career punt returns for touchdowns, although this season he has zero, despite averaging 12.0 yards on 17 returns.

Kyshoen Jarrett – CB – Freshman
Jarrett (East Stroudsburg South/Tannersville, PA) was recruited by Michigan as a part of the class of 2011.  He has played in all 13 games this season as a special teamer and backup cornerback, picking up 7 total tackles.  He has also returned 2 punts for 12 yards.

Corey Marshall – DT – Freshman
Marshall (Dinwiddie/Petersburg, VA) is a 6’1″, 253 lb. defensive tackle who played in all 13 games and started 1 game against Miami.  He has made 12 tackles and 2 sacks on the season.

Barquell Rivers – LB – Fifth year senior
Rivers (Anson County/Wadesboro, NC) is a 6′, 250 lb. inside linebacker with 2 starts on the season.  He has made 16 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 interception on the year.

Matt Roth – DE – Freshman
Roth (Nease/St. Augustine, FL) is a 6’2″, 223 lb. defensive end who is currently redshirting.

David Wilson – RB – Junior
Wilson (George Washington/Danville, VA) was recruited by Michigan as a part of the class of 2009.  After playing a backup role his first two seasons, he has started all 13 games for the Hokies this season.  Wilson has carried the ball 266 times for 1,627 yards and 9 touchdowns.  He has also caught 21 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown.  Wilson is also an effective kick returner, or at least he was last season when he returned 2 kickoffs for touchdowns; this year he is averaging only 18.8 yards on 20 returns.