COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 08 CFP National Championship - Michigan vs Washington
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Michigan running back Donovan Edwards announced on Monday that he will return to the Wolverines for his senior season in 2024. Edwards finished his junior season as the team's second-leading rusher behind Blake Corum, tallying 497 yards and five touchdowns as Michigan finished 15-0 en route to its first national championship since 1997.

Although it was Corum leading the charge on the ground for the Wolverines in 2023 with 1,245 yards and 27 touchdowns rushing, Edwards made his mark alongside Corum during Michigan's 34-13 College Football Playoff National Championship victory over No. 2 Washington. Edwards saved his best performance of the season for last, rushing for a season-high 104 yards with a pair of touchdowns on six carries. 

As a sophomore in 2022, Edwards had also seen his role increase significantly late in the season after Corum suffered a knee injury. Edwards was thrust into featured role for the Wolverines' final three games, starting with a rivalry win at Ohio State in which in he burst onto the scene with 216 yards and two touchdowns. He subsequently had 100-yard rushing performances against Purdue in the Big Ten Championship Game and TCU in the College Football Playoff semifinals. 

Across 38 games over the past three seasons at Michigan, Edwards has totaled 1,662 yards rushing with 15 touchdowns plus an additional 715 yards and three touchdowns receiving.

Wolverines rushing attack receives pivotal boost

With Corum off to the NFL, an Edwards return was the only chance of Michigan -- barring a transfer portal pickup -- boasting an experienced running back for the 2024 season. The Wolverines got just that with his decision on Monday.

While Edwards can't necessarily replace the more than 3,000 career yards rushing Corum has racked up since arriving in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the flashes Edwards has shown over the past two seasons give optimism that 2024 can be a true breakout season if he serves as RB1 from start to finish. The CFP National Championship performance was nothing short of a dream for Edwards, and he should be operating at full strength after rehabbing from a torn patellar tendon that he muscled his way through in 2022. 

It doesn't figure to be an easy journey ahead for Michigan during its title defense in 2024, which sees the Wolverines catch USC, Washington and Oregon among the Big Ten newcomers and also play a marquee nonconference matchup at home against Texas in Week 2. There's also the normal rivalry games against Ohio State and Michigan State. But for all the changes that could potentially occur for the program this offseason, getting Edwards to stay is the first box checked when it comes to some continuity.