Michigan running back Blake Corum, a unanimous All-American, will forgo the NFL Draft and return to Ann Arbor for the 2023 season, he announced Monday. Corum rushed for 1,463 yards and 18 touchdowns for the Wolverines before suffering a knee injury vs. Illinois on Nov. 19 that eventually cut his season short. He tried to play through pain on the first play against Ohio State the following week, but was pulled and missed the Big Ten Championship Game and College Football Playoff to have surgery.
“My goals have always been about leaving an enduring legacy at the winningest program in the history of college football,” Corum wrote. “Motivated by my profound love for Michigan and commitment to my education, I have decided to return for another season.”
Corum’s return provides a significant boost for a Michigan running game that ranked among the nation’s elite. The Wolverines averaged 238.9 yards per carry, good enough for No. 5 in the nation. The mark trailed only Ole Miss and the three option-based service academies in rushing offense.
The Marshall, Virginia, native has emerged as one of the most effective running backs in the nation over the past two seasons. Corum rushed for 2,415 yards and 29 touchdowns on 6.2 yards per carry for the Wolverines during their back-to-back Big Ten title runs. Corum should be an early favorite to compete for the Heisman Trophy in 2023.
Run it back! Go Blue〽️ pic.twitter.com/xQiKgdl1R1
— #2⃣BeSavage (@blake_corum)
Rebuilding draft stock for next year
Michigan never announced the severity of Corum’s injury, but he reportedly underwent a full meniscus repair that would have kept him sidelined during the entire NFL Draft process. For a running back that was already a borderline Day 2 pick, missing workouts would have been devastating.
Luckily, a fantastic junior season, a great offensive line and potential NIL opportunities mean that even for a running back with a short shelf life, coming back to campus is worth the risk. Corum will have a chance to etch his name among the Michigan greats with another Heisman-caliber season, and he still should maintain the vast majority of his draft stock as long as he can return healthy from his injury.
A major boost to Michigan’s ground game
When Corum exited with his injury, backup Donovan Edwards received a lion’s share of the carries in Michigan’s ground game with great effectiveness. Edwards racked up 520 of his 991 yards on the season in the Wolverines’ final three games. Still, eith Corum in the lineup, Michigan is a much more consistent offensive unit. The junior rushed for at least five yards per carry in all but one game he played this season and added touchdowns in every full appearance. Edwards showed great patience and effectiveness with Corum sidelined, but having the combination makes Michigan the Big Ten favorites once more.
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