Michigan RB Blake Corum, post-injury: ‘Whatever they need, I’m ready’

Ohio State vs. Michigan 2021

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 27: Blake Corum #2 of the Michigan Wolverines carries the ball as Denzel Burke #29 of the Ohio State Buckeyes defends in the second half of the game at Michigan Stadium on November 27, 2021 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)Getty Images


ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Blake Corum’s return has been nearly nine months in the making, and the Michigan running back has assured everyone around him that he is ready to suit up and play football again.

The preseason All-American spoke to reporters on Thursday, just over a week before the Wolverines’ season opener against East Carolina next Saturday, Sept. 2 (Noon, Peacock), and called the road to recovery from a torn meniscus “what I expected.”

But he also delivered a curveball, saying the season-ending knee injury may have been a blessing in disguise of sorts.

“That’s the amazing thing: When I first got injured, I was like ‘dang.’ But I’m happy I got injured,” Corum said. “A lot of people won’t say that, but it taught me things and gave me a new perspective.”

That new perspective, he says, was having to deal with adversity. Up until the injury things were rolling for Corum, who ran for 1,463 yards and 18 touchdowns last season and his name atop the Heisman Trophy conversation. But he subsequently missed the Ohio State game and Big Ten championship, effectively taking his name out of contention. Corum also missed Michigan’s game loss to Texas Christian in the College Football Playoff.

“The grit that it took to have the great year that I had but be OK with it,” Corum said of the conclusion. “It took me a while to realize that this is something small. There’s a lot of people out there doing way worse than I was. A lot of people are quick to get down when something small happens, and there’s people out there really struggling.”

More: Corum feeling ‘stronger, better than ever’ ahead of camp

While Corum was sidelined, he still had plenty of options. His name would have assuredly been called by an NFL franchise during the league’s April draft, and he still had college eligibility. Michigan, with several key playmakers set to return, along with its head coach Jim Harbaugh, eventually won out.

“All I had was a meniscus tear, something minor,” Corum said. “Sometimes it’s easy to get too ahead of yourself. From time to time, maybe I did a little bit last year.”

Which brings us to Corum’s speech to the team earlier this month, when he used his family’s former dog, a South African Boerboel named “Savage,” as inspiration.

Corum, voted one of six team captains for the 2023 Michigan team, is known more for his play on the field than talk off of it. But on this particular day, he wanted to know what his teammates’ individual goals were while simultaneously challenging them to elevate their play.

And he invoked a popular phrase thrown around these days.

“Everyone says they’re a dog — and that’s cool,” Corum said. “But there’s a difference between a dog and a savage.”

As Corum explains it, “Savage” would be let out on the family’s two-acre property in Virginia and sniff the perimeter, looking for anything out of order. Deers, raccoons and squirrels would often be chased off the land, fearful for what was after them.

“That’s what being a savage is,” Corum said. “But I was basically saying that when we go into the Big House, we need to be savages — we don’t need to be dogs. When we go in there, we (check) the perimeter of our stadium and whatever is not supposed to be there, gets handled. That was my message.”

Corum has acted as Michigan’s quasi-messenger this offseason, from being the first player to publicly proclaim its stated goal of winning a national title to declaring his unequivocal support for Harbaugh, who faces a three-game suspension and NCAA probe. And if there’s anyone who has earned the right, it’s him.

Which sets the stage for an interesting fall, one expected to see Michigan diversify its offense more than in previous years. Throw in an expanded workload for its other returning running back, Donovan Edwards, and the huge numbers that Corum piled up last season might be difficult to obtain.

Corum seems to acknowledge that, saying he’s ready for whatever the Michigan coaching staff throws at him.

“I’m just going into the (opener) ready,” Corum said. “Whatever they need from me, whatever they’re going to let me do, I’m ready. If that’s 30 carries, shit, I’m ready for it. If they limit me to maybe 10 or whatever, I don’t care.

“I’m just excited to be back out there. I’m ready to play some ball.”

Read more on Michigan football:

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U-M names six team captains for 2023 season

New transfer has ‘raised the level of play’ in Michigan’s linebacker room

OL Karsen Barnhart: ‘I want to be out there’ playing at tackle

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