Blake Corum wants to be more than just lightning.
Now that Hassan Haskins is gone, the junior running back will have to serve as more than just the speed option in Michigan’s running back room. Corum has equipped himself for that role, adding upwards of ten pounds this offseason — and it shows.
Even with the extra weight though, Corum can still bring some lightning.
“If anything I feel faster,” he said Friday, smiling.
That’s a frightening proposition for those on the Wolverines’ schedule. Of course, this type of chatter is par for the course in any offseason in college football, and whether or not its actually true is something that can’t be known until Michigan plays a football game. But the confidence in which Corum speaks makes it easy to believe. And if what he’s saying is true, there’s no telling how valuable he could be to the Wolverines’ offense.
Last season, Corum missed time with an injury, played alongside a thousand yard rusher in Haskins and still managed to put up 952 yards and 11 touchdowns. Now, just imagine what he can do this year if he can stay fully healthy as the presumed starter.
But Corum isn’t focused on those what-ifs. He has his sights set on something higher, and not just for him, but for his team.
“I don’t really care about those things, it’s all preseason,” Corum said. “I don’t even think about it. Obviously I have self goals but I’m more focused on my team right now… I’m gonna get mine, but I’m here for my team and I want to go all the way this year.”
Now if Michigan can reach heights higher that that of last year, Corum will almost certainly play a vital role. But that ‘if’ is quite a big one, and it’ll involve replacing Haskins’s production — nearly 1,400 hard-fought yards and 20 touchdowns.
And not only did Haskins have all the counting statistics last season, Haskins also seemed to play his best in the biggest games — commanding attention with five touchdowns against Ohio State and huge games at Penn State and Nebraska, too. There are big shoes to fill, and while that isn’t solely on Corum, he will shoulder much of the responsibility alongside sophomore running back Donovan Edwards.
Yet even with that weight there, Corum doesn’t seem to pay any attention to it.
“I feel like the game has to go on,” he said. “Obviously we are going to miss Hassan, but we’re going to pick up right where we left off.”
Corum went on to heap praises on the rest of the running back room, calling it “stacked” and saying that there’s a “whole bunch of lightning” now. Much like for himself, his expectations for his teammates are quite high, and that praise doesn’t just go one way.
“Blake, that’s a dog right there,” junior edge rusher Jaylen Harrell said. “He’s a hard running back, makes you miss in the open field. Adding that ten, eleven pounds (he) can really take more hits, just more durable. Blake’s a dog for real.”
And as Michigan moves on from Haskins, it will need Corum to showcase that.