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How Blake Corum is a ‘five-tool running back’

Corum checks every box.

Michigan v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Michigan running back Blake Corum has had an elite start to the season.

The 5-foot-8, 210-pound back leads the nation in rushing touchdowns with ten, and ranks 4th with 611 rushing yards. Corum’s been Michigan’s most explosive player on offense through their first five games.

“Checking every box he could check,” Head coach Jim Harbaugh said on Monday. “As an every down back, as a short yardage back, as a versatile back. He can run all the assortment of the runs — he can make the inside runs, he can run the outside runs. He can protect, he can block, he can catch out of the backfield. He’s a five-tool running back, does it all.”

Michigan’s had 27 plays of 20-plus yards this season, Corum has nine of those plays. Further, Corum’s been a first-down machine, picking up 36 of them, good enough for third in the nation.

It hasn’t just been the big chunk plays where Corum’s athleticism has been on display, he’s performed well in short-yardage situations, too.

Michigan running backs coach Mike Hart told the media last month that being a good short-yardage back isn’t all about how tall or weighty a player is and that it comes down to contact balance. “Do you keep your legs moving? How’s your pad level? In there, you have to be able to make people miss in short areas,” Hart said in September.

On top of a good contact balance, Corum’s also been able to make people miss even when it feels like a defender is just inches away.

Corum hasn’t slowed down since Big Ten play has gotten underway. Corum rushed for 243 yards last week against Maryland with two scores, and against Iowa’s No. 1 scoring defense Corum went for 133 yards and a touchdown.

“I’m glad he’s on our team. He can just take nothing and make it into something every play,” defensive tackle Mazi Smith told the media on Monday. “He’s an all-purpose back, he can catch the ball, he can be a short yardage back, and he can hit a home run. When you got a guy who can do all those things it’s so dangerous. When you see him be able to have as many yards as he had against Maryland and then come back and put a real good number again against a real great Iowa defense. We’re just glad we got him.”

Corum and Michigan will be taking on Indiana’s 69th-ranked rushing defense on Saturday at noon in Bloomington.