After star Michigan running back Blake Corum spurned the NFL in favor of returning to the Wolverines, Jim Harbaugh is certainly pleased to have one of the key pieces of his offense back for the 2023 season. However, the Michigan coach didn't spend the offseason trying to convince the potential Heisman Trophy contender to come back to college.
Corum enjoyed the most productive season of collegiate career in 2022, rushing for 1,463 yards and 18 touchdowns. After he suffered a knee injury in the Wolverines' penultimate regular-season game, Harbaugh advised him to go ahead with corrective surgery and then take his talents to the professional level.
"[Harbaugh] said, 'Get the surgery.' And he told me to go to the League," Corum told The 33rd Team. "I said, 'Coach, what would you do?' He said: 'I would go to the [NFL].'"
Corum went on to get the surgery, ending his season, but didn't follow his coach's advice on the second part. He announced on Jan. 9 -- the day of the College Football Playoff National Championship -- that he would return to Michigan in 2023 with the hope of guiding his team to that very game next year.
"My goals have always been about leaving an enduring legacy at the winningest program in the history of college football,""Motivated by my profound love for Michigan and commitment to my education, I have decided to return for another season."
Though Michigan never disclosed the severity of Corum's injury, it was reported he underwent a full meniscus repair, which would have sidelined Corum for the entirety of the draft process had he declared. To that point, Corum missed spring practice in the wake of the procedure.
Of course, Corum won't be the only talented back Michigan boasts in 2023 after Donovan Edwards broke onto the scene this past season. Edwards rushed for 520 yards across Michigan's final three games, ending the year with 991 rushing yards. It gives the Wolverines a two-headed monster in the backfield as they go for a third-consecutive Big Ten title and CFP berth.
Michigan kicks off the 2023 season, its ninth under Harbaugh, Sept. 2 at home against East Carolina. Additional nonconference games against UNLV and Blowing Green follow before the Wolverines open up Big Ten play in Week 4 at home against Rutgers.