Michigan football's dynamic duo in the backfield will pace the Wolverines' offense in 2022, despite who is under center to begin the season.
You'd think losing a player like Hassan Haskins to the NFL Draft would throw a wrench into a program's backfield. At Michigan, it's a clear next-man-up mentality; in this case, it's two. The Wolverines will deploy the explosive Blake Corum but will also feature Donovan Edwards, a dual-threat runner.
Edwards, a former five-star recruit from West Bloomfield, flashed his brilliance late last season in a contest against Maryland, catching ten balls for 170 yards out of the backfield. Later, in the Big Ten Championship game, Edwards unloaded a 75-yard touchdown pass and added a rushing touchdown in a victory over Iowa. He'd finish his freshman season rushing for 16 yards on four totes adding three receptions for 49 yards in Michigan football's loss to Georgia in the Semi-Finals.
In 2021, Edwards averaged 5.0 yards per carry, totaling 174 yards and three rushing touchdowns on 35 attempts. He'd also add 265 receiving yards and a score on 20 receptions. That production came as the third running back on the depth chart behind Haskins and Corum. Edwards was often utilized as a receiving threat in 2021, but his 6-foot-1, 200-plus pound frame suggests he will be just as effective if used as a rusher in 2022.
Michigan football's one-two punch in the backfield will pace the offense in 2022.
Blake Corum is expected to start the season as the top running back, but I hope to see a 50/50 split in 2022. The 5-foot-8 Corum added 12-pounds this offseason as he prepares for a larger workload in 2022, with Haskins now a member of the Tennessee Titans.
“It’s lighting and lightning now,” Corum said of he and Edwards “Tavierre brings a little bit of thunder, but Tavi isn’t slow. CJ’s fast too, so it’s a whole bunch of lightning.“It really wasn’t the idea,” Corum said. “It was literally just putting in work, honestly. Eating right, hydrating better — that’s what it led to. I really wasn’t trying to, it kind of just happened. I feel good right now. If anything, I feel faster. It doesn’t change my game at all. Maybe bring a little more power, a little more weight with it.” “The game has to go on. Obviously, we're gonna miss Hassan. He was a big part of our offense, but we're gonna pick up right where we left off. Donovan's gonna come in and get more reps, Tavi's ready, CJ's ready. We're picking up right where we left off. We still have, in my opinion, the best offensive line in the country.”
Michigan football will enter the year with two highly-skilled, electric playmakers, but neither has established to be the punishing runner Haskins was last year. Corum ran for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns in 12 games last season. He also added 24 receptions totaling 141 yards and a score.
Who brings the thunder?
The Wolverines will also look to Tavierre Dunlap, CJ Stokes, Kalel Mullings, Leon Franklin, and Isaiah Gash for depth at the position.
Dunlap is a player to monitor when looking for a goal-line short-yardage back. He was ranked as the 26th ranked back in the 2021 draft class and runs just a 4.6 40-time but brings some thunder. The sophomore totaled just 51 yards last season on seven carries but stands 6 feet, 220-pounds.
Coach Harbaugh recently had this to say;
Harbaugh: “I think he’ll be really good. He seems to have a really locked-in, serious approach heading into this camp. Excited about that.”
Kalel Mullings is a converted linebacker that stands a stout 6-foot-2, 232-pounds. As the Wolverines continue to search for a power back heading into 2022, Mullings carried the football four times totaling 36 yards. That included an impressive 21-yard dash that proved he has the speed to be the third back.