Former Michigan running back finds new home via transfer portal

Former Michigan running back CJ Stokes has committed to Charlotte via his Twitter. Stokes is originally from Columbia, South Carolina, so his transfer destination is somewhat of a homecoming.

Stokes was a three-star running back in the 2022 class who received a grade of .8685 from the 247Sports consensus. The back chose Michigan over an offer sheet that included South Carolina, Penn State, and Missouri. He also received an offer from Yale, marking him as a true student-athlete.

Stokes entered the portal before the playoffs, but remained with the team throughout and contributed in practice as a scout team running back.

Stokes was a minor part of Michigan’s offense as a true freshman in 2022 and had 273 yards on 55 carries with one touchdown. He saw meaningful snaps against Ohio State but was benched this year for Mullings and had just eight yards on four carries. His entering the portal is a possible signal that he was overtaken on the depth chart by true freshman Benjamin Hall, who fills a similar role to Stokes.

Stokes is going to be coached by former Michigan staffer Biff Poggi. Poggi and the 49ers have a number of former Michigan athletes on the roster, including Eyabi Okie-Enoma, Julius Welschoff, Nikhai Hill-Green, and Damani Dent.

Blake Corum is likely heading for the draft, which leaves Donovan Edwards as the only running back with legitimate experience on the roster. As previously mentioned, Benjamin Hall and Kalel Mullings both passed Stokes on the depth chart, but neither has extensive experience running the football. It’s possible that Michigan turns to the portal to fill the void, especially if Edwards declares for the draft as well.

Keep an eye out for a between-the-tackles bruising back who can replace Blake Corum (or at least try) in the offense. Michigan needs to be able to grind out short yardage, and Corum was one of the best to ever do it.

Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire