Fitzgerald Toussaint in line to start

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Two weeks ago, Michigan running back Fitzgerald Toussaint said he would be the starter when the Wolverines' season opener rolled around on Aug. 31.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke backed that up, saying Toussaint would be the No. 1 back if the season started Tuesday.

"If we're going to get technical about it," Hoke said, "Fitz would be the starter."

Hoke said that Toussaint has separated himself from the rest of the competition through fall camp and that he was impressed with how the redshirt senior looked in the Wolverines' scrimmage on Saturday in Michigan Stadium.

"It was great to get him up in the stadium, great to see him run and do some things that he did protection-wise, running the ball-wise," Hoke said. "He looks good."

Toussaint led the Michigan running backs last season with five touchdowns and 514 yards before a gruesome leg break sidelined him on Nov. 17. The injury left many wondering if he'd be able to return at all, let alone become the starter again.

Hoke said that redshirt freshman Drake Johnson has also taken some carries and would fight for snaps behind Toussaint, and that juniors Justice Hayes and Thomas Rawls, who have had some playing experience with the Wolverines, have also had their moments.

Most noticeably absent from the conversation is true freshman Derrick Green, who came to Michigan rated as the No. 5 running back in the country.

With Toussaint's injury, many assumed Green would be able to slip in as the Wolverines' featured back this fall. But Hoke said that Green has been limited because of classes as well as a small ankle injury.

All of that has allowed Hoke -- who's notoriously cryptic along the lines of starters or injuries -- to say that Toussaint is the top guy in camp right now.

"I think there's a clear separation that Fitz is the guy," Hoke said.