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Will Michigan regret losing Zach Charbonnet to UCLA?

Will Michigan regret losing Zach Charbonnet to UCLA?


After his big debut on Saturday, will Michigan regret losing Zach Charbonnet 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 totaled 244 rushing yards against the overmatched Rainbow Warriors, as Chip Kelly’s fourth season as head coach started with a 44-10 win.

Charbonnet was a well-regarded recruit by the Wolverines and Jim Harbaugh in the 2019 class, and he delivered with 149 carries for 726 yards and 11 touchdowns as a true freshman. But his playing time was cut during last year’s shortened campaign and tallied just 19 carries in five games, and the decision to transfer seemed too easy.

Over his two seasons in Ann Arbor, the 6-foot-1, 220-pound Charbonnet averaged 5.1 yards per carry. Even in limited work during a blowout season opener, UCLA’s gain clearly looks like 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 leading rusher this year (61 carries for 375 yards and six touchdowns). Behind him is sophomore Blake Corum, who is in line for a bigger role after putting up 147 total yards and two rushing scores on 31 touches last year.

Running back Donovan Edwards was ranked by 247Sports as the No. 2 prospect in Michigan’s 2021 recruiting class, and he was a top-50 recruit in the country (the No. 4 running back overall, via 247). The Wolverines also kept him in-state (West Bloomfield, MI), after he made visits to or got offers from a long list of schools along the way (Alabama, Oklahoma, LSU, Ohio State, Georgia, Auburn, Texas, Texas A&M, USC, Tennessee).

Michigan generally uses a committee backfield, even with a 2021 NFL Draft pick around (Chris Evans), and Edwards was added to the mix for 2021 as an early enrollee. Charbonnet entered the transfer portal soon after that and chose UCLA pretty quickly.

It was surely hard for Wolverines fans to watch Charbonnet on Saturday, or learn about his explosive debut for UCLA afterward. But the level of competition should be noted, and Michigan has the running back depth to offset his loss. Stay tuned, as it might change, but there should be no regret coming from Michigan about losing Charbonnet based on one game.

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