The Wolverine

December 2021*

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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26 THE WOLVERINE DECEMBER 2021 BY CLAYTON SAYFIE T he expectations for Michigan football heading into the 2021 season were lower than they'd been in some time, but the Maize and Blue blocked out the outside noise, put their heads down and grinded, authoring a season to remember. Several Wolverines were proven commodities heading into the fall — junior defensive e n d A i d a n H u t c h i n s o n , r e d s h i r t sophomore running back Hassan Haskins and redshirt junior right tackle Andrew Stueber, among others. There was also a crop of players who shined in their increased roles and helped Michigan rebound after a dis- appointing 2020. A microcosm of the expectations put on the team before the year, these athletes broke through and are now major pieces. They're just as respon- sible for the team's success as those who were already on the scene. The Wolverines who hadn't yet made a consistent, significant impact before this season but did so this year include second-year freshman running back Blake Corum, redshirt freshman outside linebacker David Ojabo, sixth-year senior center Andrew Vastardis and sophomore tight end Erick All. FRESHMAN RB BLAKE CORUM Corum began the season with a bang, with the opener against Western Michi- gan serving as his coming-out party. He had shown flashes in 2020 — carry- ing the ball 26 times for 77 yards and two touchdowns, and making five catches for 73 yards — but wasn't one of the team's top offensive weapons. That changed during the non-conference slate, when he combined for 407 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, plus added a receiving score, in wins over the Broncos, Wash- ington and Northern Illinois. For a brief moment, he popped up on Heisman hot boards. The 'lightning' to redshirt sophomore running back Hassan Haskins' 'thunder,' Corum is a speedster who complements the power running of Haskins. Position coach Mike Hart — the program's all- time leading rusher — said Corum is the "fastest and most explosive" player he's coached. The biggest difference for the Marshall, Va., native this year as opposed to last, BREAKOUT STARS These Four Michigan Wolverines Took Huge Steps Forward In 2021 Second-year freshman running back Blake Corum ranked 19th nationally with an average of 130.6 all-purpose yards per game heading into the Big Ten championship contest. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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