The Wolverine

2022 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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54 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2022 FOOTBALL PREVIEW ON THE RUN AGAIN Michigan Backs Pack A Strong One-Two Punch BY JOHN BORTON [ RU N N I N G B AC K S ] H assan Haskins won't be leaping over tall buildings (or Buckeyes) this season. That doesn't mean the Wolverines are fresh out of super men, or that their run is over. There's no doubt, Haskins' 1,327 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns in 2021 repre- sented a sizable chunk of the No. 15 rushing offense in the nation (214.4 yards per game). At the same time, Mike Hart's returning crew stands ready to recover much of that ground. They'll have help, without question. Sixty percent of the starting offensive line that earned the Joe Moore Award as the nation's best blocking front returns. Plug in a Rimington Award finalist graduate transfer at center, plus a high-performing veteran at right tackle, then add a host of rugged tight ends, and the paving crew looks ready to roll. Now it's up to the Michigan backs to perform. They're not backing down in the least. After the looks they gave in 2021, such a stance appears more than justified. POTENTIALLY DEVASTATING DUO Junior Blake Corum came within one high ankle sprain of a 1,000-yard season, racking up 952 yards, averaging 6.7 per carry and scoring 11 touchdowns. Along the way, he posted 171 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns in the home win over Washington, sped away for a 55-yard scamper against Ohio State and raced for a 67-yard touchdown in the Big Ten Championship game against Iowa. Corum will look to build on those efforts, and he knows how to build. He reconstructed himself in the offseason prior to the 2021 campaign, adding size and strength to his 5-foot-8, 200-pound frame. That sort of work ethic can be contagious, noted the new voice of Michigan football, Doug Karsch. "With Corum and [sophomore Donovan] Edwards, you've got enough to compete at the highest level," Karsch said. "The big thing you want is to stay healthy. If those guys stay healthy, there's the bulk of your carries, the bulk of your receptions out of the backfield and then it's up to how effectively they develop a third guy. But the big thing there is health. "It's a good combination of complementary skill sets. I think you're looking at a loaded backfield. Aidan Hutchinson's offseason [prior to the 2021 season] and the improvements he made on defense were matched by Corum's offseason and the improvements he made for the offense. "When you have a guy like Hutch and a guy like Corum having success with the work they put in, it echoes in that locker room. Everybody else can learn from it. Corum is one of those weight room gym rats that sets the tone for everybody else to follow." The compact third-year Wolverine made sure others knew as well. Offseason photos of him working out, getting bigger and determinedly driving toward the season showed up on social media, a reminder to anyone who might consider slacking. "You could tell that Blake Corum spent this offseason in the weight room," Karsch said. "His social media presence, it was always stuff in the weight room. When you saw him up close and personal, you noticed that he had changed his body. "It showed. He didn't seem to lose a step. He seemed as quick as ever. He was stronger and durable. He's not the biggest back, but he's durable. When you go bust your butt and everybody sees you get better, it gives the blueprint for everybody else on that offense to follow suit. How much do you want it?" It appears sophomore Donovan Edwards wants it badly. He made an at-times scintillat- 900+ YARD RUSHERS SINCE 2000 Year Player Yards TD 2000 Anthony Thomas 1,551 16 2002 Chris Perry 1,110 14 2003 Chris Perry 1,674 18 2004 Mike Hart 1,455 9 2006 Mike Hart 1,562 14 2007 Mike Hart 1,361 14 2010 Denard Robinson 1,702 14 2011 Fitzgerald Toussaint 1,041 9 2011 Denard Robinson 1,176 16 2012 Denard Robinson 1,266 7 2017 Karan Higdon 994 11 2018 Karan Higdon 1,178 10 2021 Hassan Haskins 1,327 20 2021 Blake Corum 952 11 Junior Blake Corum ranked eighth nationally in rushing grade (91.1) last season according to Pro Football Focus. Two players with higher marks had less than 32 rushing attempts. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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