After its big debut on Saturday, will Michigan regret Zach Charbonnet’s loss to UCLA?
The UCLA Bruins unveiled a new running back on Saturday against Hawaii as Michigan transfer Zach Charbonnet had 106 yards and three touchdowns on just six carries. The Bruins had a total of 244 rushing yards against the outnumbered Rainbow Warriors, while Chip Kelly’s fourth season as head coach kicked off with a 44-10 win.
Charbonnet was a highly regarded recruit by the Wolverines and Jim Harbaugh in the 2019 class, delivering 149 carries for 726 yards and 11 touchdowns as a true freshman. But his playing time was cut during last year’s shortened campaign, counting just 19 bags in five games, and the decision to switch seemed too easy.
Over his two seasons at Ann Arbor, the 6-foot-1, 220-pound Charbonnet averaged 5.1 yards per carry. Even with limited work during a blowout season opener, UCLA’s gain clearly resembles Michigan’s loss.
Zach Charbonnet was an instant hit for UCLA in the Bruins opener
Senior Hassan Haskins averaged 5.1 yards per carry in 2019 and is Michigan’s returning rusher this year (61 carries for 375 yards and six touchdowns). Behind him is sophomore Blake Corum, who is lining up for a bigger role after putting in a total of 147 yards and two hasty scores on 31 touches last year.
Donovan Edwards was ranked as the No. 2 prospect in Michigan’s 2021 recruiting class by 247Sports, and he was a top-50 recruit in the country (the No. 4 declining overall, via 247). The Wolverines also kept him in the state (West Bloomfield, MI), after he made visits to or received offers from a long list of schools (Alabama, Oklahoma, LSU, Ohio State, Georgia, Auburn, Texas, Texas A&M, Georgia) along the way. USC, Tennessee).
Michigan generally uses a commission backfield, even with a 2021 NFL Draft pick close (Chris Evans), and Edwards was added to the mix for 2021 as an early enroller. Charbonnet entered the transfer portal shortly after and chose UCLA quite quickly.
It was certainly hard for Wolverines fans to see Charbonnet on Saturday, or learn about his explosive debut for UCLA afterward. But the level of competition should be noted, and Michigan has the receding depth to make up for its loss. Stay tuned, as things may change, but Michigan shouldn’t regret losing Charbonnet on a single-game basis.
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