UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet announces he'll return for 2022 season
As his backfield partner, Dorian Thompson-Robinson said, “The Terminator is back.”
Zach Charbonnet has two years of eligibility remaining. But after a breakthrough 2021 season, the talented runner could have jumped to the NFL. Instead, Charbonnet announced Friday that he’ll return to Westwood for at least one more season.
Not done yet.. pic.twitter.com/VrhNS6Ggw2
— Zach Charbonnet (@zachcharbon) January 14, 2022
That means that while UCLA will need to replace some lost production in the pass-catching and blocking departments, the backfield that powered an 8-4 season will return completely intact. Thompson-Robinson, the Bruins’ star quarterback, announced earlier this week he’d return for another season. Charbonnet, after coming over from Michigan last offseason, immediately excelled next to Thompson-Robinson in head coach Chip Kelly’s system.
Charbonnet’s 94.8 yards-per-game average ranked second among Pac-12 backs. He put up 1,137 yards and 13 touchdowns on 203 carries (5.6 per carry). It was the best rushing season by a Bruin since Joshua Kelly went for 11,243 yards in 2018. The 13 scores were the most by a Bruin since Paul Perkins had 14 in 2015.
The California native rushed for over 100 yards in seven games and scored in eight games, including each of the last four in the regular season when UCLA’s offense really exploded. He and Thompson-Robinson combined for nearly 1,800 rushing yards and 22 scores on the ground. Another year of continuity can only serve the Bruins well.
A 4-star prospect in the 2019 class, Charbonnet signed with Michigan and appeared in 18 of the Wolverines’ 19 games during his first two seasons. He ran for 726 yards and 11 scores in a backfield timeshare with Hassan Haskins in 2019 as a true freshman, but saw his carries cut into in 2020 by the emergence of Haskins and Blake Corum. Charbonnet entered the transfer portal after the year ended and found a second life with the Bruins.
He’ll look to improve his draft stock in 2022 as UCLA looks to improve on its first winning season under Kelly.