Zach Charbonnet, Wolverine

Zach Charbonnet, Wolverine

June 24, 2018

Westlake Village (CA) Oaks Christian RB Zach Charbonnet (image via Los Angeles Daily News)

Westlake Village (CA) Oaks Christian running back Zach Charbonnet committed to Michigan on Sunday evening. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Florida, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Penn State, UCLA, and USC, among others.

Charbonnet is listed at 6’2″, 215 lbs. As a junior in 2017, he ran the ball 265 times for 2,049 yards (7.7 YPC) and 23 touchdowns. He also had 27 catches for 169 yards (6.3 yards/catch), 36 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 1 interception, and 4 pass breakups.

ESPN: 4-star, 80 grade, #26 RB
Rivals: 4-star, #20 RB
247 Sports: 4-star, 91 grade, #9 RB, #220 overall

Hit the jump for more on Charbonnet’s commitment.

Michigan has been on Charbonnet for months, but he has remained somewhat under the radar because he’s a very quiet kid. He doesn’t participate in a lot of camps or the recruiting shenanigans normally employed by high-profile running backs, especially in California. (So maybe he’s not a high-profile running back?) He has taken a couple visits to Michigan, and his most recent flight to Ann Arbor was so under the radar that it wasn’t reported by the recruiting sites until he was already on campus. His commitment took place shortly after leaving on Sunday.

Charbonnet is terrible. He’s probably the worst running back in the history of the lower 48 states. I’m surprised that San Jose State offered him, let alone Michigan. I wouldn’t even let him play against me in Madden. (I hope I’m doing this right, because my track record on running backs is weird.)

In all seriousness, Charbonnet has a good frame at 6’2″ and 215 lbs., and even if he’s a little short of those measurements, he should hold up well in college. He doesn’t need to add a lot of weight to be college-ready, and in fact, he should be able to step in to play immediately, at least from a physical standpoint. I like his patience to the hole and his burst through it. He has good vision, and he’s not a one-cut-and-go runner – he’s a guy who can make multiple cuts on the same play. In fact, he has some excellent jump cuts and lateral mobility, which are reminiscent of Fitzgerald Toussaint, but Charbonnet is bigger. He has good acceleration and speed, and he’s not afraid of contact.

On the negative side, Charbonnet carries the ball too low and loose for my liking, and he will need to work on his ball handling or else he’s going to turn the ball over in college. He is also somewhat tall for a running back, which has not necessarily been a positive quality for Michigan running backs in recent years.

Overall, I like Charbonnet a lot. This is not good for him. He will be relegated to the bench in favor of some 5’10” or 5’11” guy who’s TOUGH AS NAILS!!!!! I haven’t seen film on all 19 or 25 running backs rated ahead of him by Rivals or ESPN, respectively, but I have a hard time imagining those guys are all better. But they are, because Michael Cox and Brandon Minor and Ty Isaac were all guys I liked, but all-timers Vincent Smith and Sam McGuffie and De’Veon Smith made them irrelevant.

Michigan now has 13 commits in the class of 2019. He’s the first running back and just the third skill player, joining QB Cade McNamara and TE Erick All. Just like All from Fairfield (OH) Fairfield, Charbonnet would be the first player from the famed Oaks Christian to play at Michigan. The Wolverines probably want to grab at least one more running back, even though they took several in the 2018 class.

TTB Rating: 83 (ratings explanation)


  1. Comments: 22
    Joined: 8/20/2015
    Jun 25, 2018 at 8:26 AM

    I don’t get it, do you like this kid or not? (kidding)

    While I get it that he carries the “big back” title based on his weight/height, he sure doesn’t look like it in his film. His ability to jump, stop and start is impressive. As with every young kid, I’ll be very interested to see if he can still do some of those things in college, but I’m very excited for this one.

    Thanks for all the write up’s over the weekend!

  2. Comments: 14
    Joined: 6/22/2018
    cayman go blue
    Jun 26, 2018 at 8:39 AM

    This is an exciting get for the staff. They seem to be targeting one of these big backs every year but can never quite close. This kid looks super quick through the holes and has some serious shake. If he can pack a wallop by the time he sees the field- we are going to have something special here.

  3. Comments: 295
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Jul 01, 2018 at 11:45 PM

    I’m so freakin’ excited for this kid. I’ve said for a years now, you gotta be able to get a stud RB to make this offense work. He’s, IMO, by far the best RB we’ve recruited that I can remember (10 years or so keeping up with recruiting for me). Last year, the Najee Harris miss was HUGE. Probably the most impressive RB recruit we’ve been close on. I can now get excited about their evaluations after watching this kid. He’s a natural RB. Born to run the ball. He may not be a burner but still runs away from people. Great vision and patience. Just can’t say enough about this kid. The only worry I have is if we can KEEP him. We haven’t had a lot of luck with Cali kids lately other than Long. I’m hoping he doesn’t jump ship late in the cycle. He’s my favorite recruit by far. I would have given him a 94 rating on the Thunder scale.

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