The Wolverine

August 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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62 THE WOLVERINE AUGUST 2018   COMMITMENT PROFILE W estlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian four-star running back Zach Charbonnet is a very quiet kid, but that doesn't make his commitment to Michigan a reticent occurrence. The 6-1, 190-pounder is consid- ered the No. 20 running back in the country by, and he held offers from Florida, Notre Dame, TCU, UCLA, USC, Washington and Wisconsin, among others. His high school coach may be a bit biased, but Jim Benkert thinks Charbonnet is the epitome of an elite high school run- ning back. "He's going to come ready to play," Benkert said. "He has the size, speed and toughness. He practices hard, goes hard in the weight room, has the physical ability. He can catch the ball out of the backfield, he can be a top defensive player, return punts and kicks. "His vision, his burst, his competi- tive nature, his strength, his speed [are excellent]. In my opinion, he's the best back to come out of Califor- nia in a long time." Benkert also discussed other quali- ties that make Charbonnet special and touched on the rising senior 's traits as a young man, which makes him think his pupil will more than excel at a place like Michigan. "He's one of the most outstand- ing men to come out — not only as a football player, but as the best our society has to offer," the coach said. "He's that type of kid. He's humble, unassuming, he's got all the great qualities. He's the full package." West recruiting analyst Adam Gorney echoed some of the sentiments that Benkert mentioned about Charbonnet and also thinks Michigan did a really good job of going into California to grab a pros- pect that could play anywhere in the country. "Zach Charbonnet is a little bit of a throwback player because during the offseason he doesn't really do any camps and he doesn't play seven-on- seven regularly, so he wasn't seen much during the offseason at all," Gorney explained. "Still, when I saw him play during his junior season he was definitely one of the best run- ning backs I saw, and that's why I made him a four-star prospect. I think he's one of the best running backs, if not in the country, definitely in the West region. "He's very elusive and that's what stands out most. In a crowd, he can evade tackles and he has really quick feet, allowing him to dart in and out of holes, and he has excellent vision. He has very good speed. He's not an elite flyer down the field, but is a kid who can make people miss and can really run between the tackles. He has a lot of patience to his running and can still bounce it outside." Those skills make him an ideal Big Ten running back, and Gorney believes Jay and Jim Harbaugh will find a way to utilize Charbonnet very effectively. "For what Michigan is looking for in a running back, behind a powerful offensive line, the kind of offense Jim Harbaugh wants to run, Zach Char- bonnet is a perfect fit," Gorney said. As a sophomore, Charbonnet was a backup running back, but still had 82 carries for 844 yards and 23 touch- downs. He also added eight recep- tions for 88 yards. On defense, he re- corded 24 tackles, two interceptions, and 11 passes broken up. As a junior, he was the feature back and carried the ball 265 times for 2,049 yards and 23 scores. He also had 27 catches for 169 yards and one touchdown. Last year on defense, he had 36 tackles, five tackles for loss, four sacks, an interception and three passes broken up from his linebacker spot. Charbonnet was named to the Ven- tura County Coaches Association All-County large school first team and The Los Angeles Daily News All- Area first team as well after his stel- lar junior campaign. He also recorded an 11.2 in the 100-meter dash earlier this spring, which is a great time for a big back weighing more than 200 pounds. — Brandon Brown U-M Dips Into California To Land Running Back Zach Charbonnet Charbonnet tallied 2,218 yards and 24 touch- downs from scrimmage last year and also contributed on defense, notching 36 tackles, four sacks and an interception as a linebacker. PHOTO BY NICK LUCERO/COURTESY RIVALS.COM FILM EVALUATION Strengths: For a back that's pushing 200 pounds, Zach Charbonnet has a rare combination of size, strength, speed, agility and vision. He's been very produc- tive at a powerhouse high school and seems to be a very complete player, not just on offense. Areas Of Improvement: As is almost always the case with high school running backs, Charbonnet hasn't done a lot of blocking in the passing game. That skill alone put De'Veon Smith on the field ahead of more talented backs at Michigan and is something Charbonnet will need to focus on if he wants to play early for the Wolverines. Michigan Player Comparison: Size and ability wise Charbonnet compares favorably to former Michigan running back Ricky Powers. Charbonnet is a bit big- ger and probably a touch slower as a rising senior in high school, but both backs possess good speed and wiggle at their size. Powers was extremely productive at Michigan before losing his starting role to eventual star Tyrone Wheatley. — Analysis from

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