It’s no secret head coach Jim Harbaugh likes his teams to run the football.
From his time at Stanford, Harbaugh has been known for his gap-based run schemes. That has been the case at Michigan, too, for the most part.
One difference? Harbaugh hasn’t had a lead back like former Stanford running back Toby Gerhart. The Wolverines have yet to have a 1,000-yard rusher under Harbaugh, who has been more than happy to spread carries around.
Last season, Karan Higdon and Chris Evans combined for 299 carries for 1,679 yards and 17 touchdowns. Both return this year — Higdon is a senior and Evans a junior.
Michigan, though, appears poised to reload once Higdon and Evans are gone. They’ve signed four running backs in the past two recruiting classes, and now have a pair of commitments from highly touted 2019 4-star prospects Zach Charbonnet and Eric Gray.
Charbonnet, at 6-feet-2, 215 pounds, might seem like a prototypical big back. At 5-10, 191, Gray is classified by recruiting services as an all-purpose back.
Both, though, boast skill sets atypical for their respective sizes.
“You know, people overuse the ‘Thunder-Lightning’ term,” 247Sports recruiting analyst Steve Lorenz said, “but I really think Charbonnet and Gray would be as close to a ‘Thunder and Lightning’ combo as you’re going to get as far as two high school running back verbal commitments.”