The Wolverine

January 2024

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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JANUARY 2024 ❱ THE WOLVERINE 9 BY ANTHONY BROOME U -M captain Blake Corum has made a habit out of giving back to the lo- cal community during his time with the program. Over the last few years, Corum has used the day after the Ohio State game to hand out turkeys to the needy. As his time in Ann Arbor comes to a close after this season, Corum wanted to go out on a much higher note. Corum and his Michigan teammates went to the Somerset Collection Mall in Troy, Mich., on Dec. 9 for a toy drive that benefitted Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries in an NIL event that saw the line snake around the center of the mall and outside. "Every time I have an event, I wonder, 'Is it going to be big? Are people going to come?' And the community showed out," Corum said. "I tell everyone, foot- ball is my passion, but giving back is my purpose. "I was expecting a big turnout, but I didn't think it was going to be this big. It was like the whole state of Michigan came out. It felt like you were kind of in the Big House. That's what it felt like." It is estimated that more than 5,000 people attended the event with some- where between 20,000-25,000 toys do- nated. Corum offered a complimentary photo in exchange for a toy donation. "I didn't know it was going to be this big of a turnout," sophomore defensive tackle Mason Graham said. "It's cool to see all these Michigan fans out here sup- porting. Good cause for Blake and some of the guys." Sophomore cornerback Will John- son added: "It was like we were almost movie stars. They were showing a lot of love. We were taking a lot of pictures. It's good to interact with the fans like that, really get into the community and see everybody up close." The event lasted around two hours, with Corum taking photos with about 500 people while his teammates assisted in the event. Some fans waited as long as two hours in line to help donate to the cause. "When it's Blake Corum, a lot of peo- ple are going to come," freshman wide receiver Semaj Morgan said. "It was a lot of people. That was a great event. He couldn't even see the crowd. Not every- one could come onto the stage because there were so many people." Corum, who finished ninth in this year's Heisman Trophy voting and was named Big Ten Running Back of the Year for the second season in a row, returned to Michigan for unfinished business on the field but knew that he wanted to take care of the community off of it. The event was a job well done and mission accomplished for the star rusher. "I knew this was my last year here at the University of Michigan, so I wanted to go out with a bang," Corum said. "I didn't want my turkey drive to be my last thing — this was one helluva way to go out. It's bigger than I imagined. So many kids will wake up on Christmas with a toy. It's a beautiful thing." With mall Santas headlining most gatherings this time of year, Corum and his pals upstaged them for a day. "I hope Santa doesn't have any beef with me today," Corum said. "We had more people come to this event than him." ❑ ❱ Inside Michigan ATHLETICS Blake Corum's Christmas Toy Drive Generates Massive Turnout It is estimated that more than 5,000 fans attended Corum's toy drive event at a local mall, with somewhere between 20,000-25,000 toys donated in a single day. PHOTO COURTESY VALIANT MANAGEMENT

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