Michigan football's Blake Corum left off list of Heisman Trophy finalists

Michigan football will not have a representative in New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

Running back Blake Corum was not named one of the Heisman finalist on Monday. The four finalists are all quarterbacks: Georgia's Stetson Bennett, TCU's Max Duggan, Ohio State's C.J. Stroud and USC's Caleb Williams. The winner will be named during the Heisman Trophy presentation at 8 p.m. Saturday.

It's the second year in a row Stroud is a finalist. He finished fourth last season.

Duggan and the Horned Frogs will face Michigan in the College Football Playoff national semifinal in the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 31.

Corum was named the first-team All Big Ten and the conference's running back of the year, even though the record-setting season he was on pace for — and his potential "Heisman moment" — was cut short after suffering a knee injury late in the first half against Illinois.

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Michigan running back Blake Corum runs for a touchdown against Maryland during the second half at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.
Michigan running back Blake Corum runs for a touchdown against Maryland during the second half at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.

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Corum tried to play through it in the second half and on the first series against Ohio State, but took just two carries early before he was pulled for the rest of the game, save a few kneel downs. On Saturday, he posted on social media that his season-ending surgery was a success, which was why he did not travel with the team to the Indianapolis for its Big Ten championship victory, 43-22, over Purdue.

Still, Corum was sensational when he did play. The junior ran 247 times for 1,463 yards (5.9 yards per carry) and 18 touchdowns on the season. He had a touchdown in every game he played and more than 100 rushing yards in every Big Ten contest (other than when he played two snaps vs. OSU).

"Blake Corum is the best running back in college football," fellow U-M running back Donovan Edwards said after the Wolverines' Big Ten title victory on Saturday night. "If he didn't get hurt, he would have easily won the Heisman."

Injury likely cost Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker a spot among the finalists, too. He had the Volunteers among the top teams in the nation until he suffered a season-ending knee injury on the same day Corum got hurt.

Corum tied a Michigan record when he ran for five touchdowns against Connecticut in Week 3, just the third time it had been done in program history. He was named a finalist for the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation's best running back, along with Illinois' Chase Brown and Texas' Bijan Robinson.

Former Michigan defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson, now a rookie with the Detroit Lions, finished as the runner-up for the award last season. The last Wolverine to be named a finalist for college football's most prestigious award was defensive back Jabrill Peppers in 2016 (finished fifth). Charles Woodson was the last Michigan player to win the Heisman, topping Peyton Manning, Ryan Leaf and Randy Moss in the Wolverines' national championship season of 1997. Desmond Howard was the runaway winner in 1991 and Tom Harmon was the fifth-ever winner in 1940.

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Michigan running back Blake Corum (2) during warm up before a game against Rutgers, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022 in Piscataway, N.J.
Michigan running back Blake Corum (2) during warm up before a game against Rutgers, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022 in Piscataway, N.J.

Entering this season, there were questions as to whether Corum could handle a full workload as the starting running back for an offense that loves to run the ball. The 5-foot-8 junior from Marshall, Virginia, began answers those questions when the Big Ten schedule began for U-M. On Sept. 24 against Maryland, Corum had 30 carries for 243 yards and two TDs, followed by 29 carries for 133 yards and a score against Iowa, currently the No. 13 rush defense in the country.

By the time Corum rushed for 166 yards against Penn State (No. 14 rush defense) and 177 against Michigan State, the Heisman campaign was in full gear.

A running back has not won the Heisman Trophy since Alabama's Derrick Henry in 2015. Since 2010, 10 quarterbacks have won the award, including Alabama's Bryce Young last season. The last Big Ten player to win the award was Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith in 2006.

Contact Tony Garcia at apgarcia@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @realtonygarcia.

Next up: Fiesta Bowl vs. Horned Frogs

Matchup: No. 2 Michigan (13-0) vs. No. 3 TCU (12-1), CFP semifinal.

Kickoff: 4 p.m. Dec. 31; State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona.

TV/radio: ESPN; WXYT-FM (97.1).

At stake: Winner faces winner of Georgia vs. Ohio State for national title on Jan. 9 in Inglewood, California.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan football's Blake Corum left off Heisman Trophy finalists list