The Wolverine

January 2024

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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26 THE WOLVERINE ❱ JANUARY 2024 BY JOHN BORTON B lake Corum always talks about unfinished business. He takes his cue from late NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, who drove himself by cautioning, "The job's not finished." One way or another, Corum's busi- ness in a winged helmet stands about to be finished. Regardless of what happens over the next month, what an enterprise, over the course of four seasons. After no Michigan Big Ten titles since 2004, Corum helped lead a charge to an unprecedented three consecutive outright conference titles. Following a far-too- lengthy drought, three straight stirring victories over Ohio State, the Wolverines' first-ever College Football Playoff appear- ances and one more chance to win it all. Individually, Corum became one of the most productive backs in the history of the program, forever putting himself among the ball-carrying elite in maize and blue. His back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2022 (1,463) and 2023 (1,028) mark the first time a Michigan tailback has logged consecutive 1,000-yard cam- paigns since his position coach, Mike Hart, did so in 2006 (1,562) and 2007 (1,361). A unanimous first-team All- American as a junior, Corum also repeated as the Big Ten's Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year this season. Corum hit pay dirt already 24 times this season, owning the Michigan single-sea- son record for rushing touchdowns. For his career, he stands at the very top of the Wolverines' modern career chart, with his 55 rushing TDs currently tied with An- thony Thomas (1997-2000) entering the playoff game with Alabama. This one's unofficial, but it might be the greatest record of them all — most turkeys supplied and passed out, and smiles pro- duced at Thanksgiving. If you think the young man from Mar- shall, Va., has performed in a manner too good to be true over the course of four seasons in Ann Arbor … well, you'd have company. "I just think of how proud James Co- rum has to be," Jim Harbaugh noted of Corum's dad, who, along with mom Christina, sacrificed plenty to see their son succeed, including the near two- hour daily drive from Marshall to Balti- more's St. Frances Academy, the private school where his football future flour- ished. "He's such a good friend. Every- thing he poured into Blake — the dis- cipline, the work ethic, the toughness. Blessed from mom, dad and God with the DNA. That's where my mind goes. What it would be like to be Blake's dad?" "There's nothing I don't think Blake can do. No matter what people tell you you can't do, you just go back and think of all the things you have done, to get you this far. That's the way these guys were raised by their parents, and I get to watch it — daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, with these guys. Now everybody knows. That's such a sweet thing. Just so sweet and good." AN EDGE AS A COMPETITOR Corum isn't always sweet, despite the countless photos for which he poses with young fans. His disposition isn't always tender, regardless of his desire to be out in the community, giving and sharing a kind word. Get him on or around a football field, and he's all business — business he intends to finish. He carries an edge, including an impish ability to stick the needle into op- ponents, particularly following a big win. Hart once tweaked Michigan State with the "little brother" tag and noted how his protégé Corum possessed too much wis- dom for that sort of verbal folly. And yet a year ago, after Michigan's 29-7 thrashing of Michigan State at The Big House, there was Corum in the press room afterward, giving MSU head coach Mel Tucker the business. Mocking the "Tuck Comin'" slogan of the Spartans' hype-filled 2022 offsea- son, Corum offered: "I thought Tuck was comin'? That's what they said all offsea- son … They had the shirts. Might need to throw those shirts away." Following Michigan's breakthrough win against Ohio State in 2021, OSU quarter- back C.J. Stroud put forth on Twitter the lament that some of the Buckeyes weren't 100 percent healthy for the game. Corum supplied a ready retort, gleaned from a sports psychology book entitled "Shoot FINISHING BUSINESS Blake Corum To Leave With Records, Titles … And More

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