U-M's Toussaint says he will start opener

Michigan RB Fitzgerald Toussaint says he will start opener and is "100%" healthy.****With VIDEO*****

ANN ARBOR -- Michigan running back Fitzgerald Toussaint made a bold statement on who will be the starting halfback on Aug. 31 when U-M opens its season against Central Michigan.

He said himself, of course.

"I'm going to be the starting running back Aug. 31," said Toussaint after Michigan's first full practice of fall camp.

He continued: "I worked really hard throughout the off-season. I watched a lot of film. I lifted a lot of weights. And I am just ready to go."

Toussaint, a redshirt senior, said he's "100 percent" recovered from his broken left tibia and fractured left fibula suffered in the first quarter against Iowa on Nov. 17, 2012.

"It feels good," he said. "It feels like I am 100 percent. Like last time during spring, I would say (I was) around 80, 85 percent. I still wasn't full go. I still didn't get the clear to go out. But today I felt really good. I was able to go out there and do everything I needed to do."

When asked what's different in his mindset now compared to before the injury, Toussaint replied: "I say it's more confidence, knowing what I can do, knowing what I am capable of doing.

"I feel like I am more confident not to have issues and just go out there and play football the way I have been playing."

Toussaint said he will be wearing a leg-brace or some type of protection on his left leg this season. He pointed out that it shouldn't intervene with his play.

"I have some sort of protection on there," he said. "It's small, noticeable, but you know it's to help me and feel confident."

Earlier in his career Toussaint said he would have been looking more towards the future, but since the injury he's acknowledge he has more of a "day-to-day" approach.

"It's just hard work and dedication," he said. "It's something I've been fighting for and something I have been working for. I kind of looked to forward back then. Then today is about working day-by-day just getting better before this day.

"Just learning how to respond through adversity. You know, just taking guidance and advice from other people. You know, steering me in the right direction."

Michigan signed Scout's No. 1 RB Derrick Green and No. 11 RB DeVeon Smith earlier this year. The freshman additions are expected to push Toussaint for the starting spot this fall. Touissant said he is being more of a leader to the incoming freshman – despite the fact that they are trying to take his starting role.

"It's something I had to learn when I was a freshman to kind of let a senior lead me," he said. "That's the same thing I have to do now."

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