Where Donovan Edwards ranks among ESPN’s top 2024 running backs

At this time in 2023, the consensus among college football analysts was  Michigan football had the nation’s two best running backs with Blake Corum coming in at No. 1 and Donovan Edwards at No. 2. Now Corum is gone to the NFL and Edwards is coming off a disappointing season — especially by his lofty standards — analysts aren’t quite as high on him.

But he’s not altogether forgotten.

Edwards has tended to show out more in bigger games, from his two 75-plus yard touchdowns against Ohio State in 2022 or his two 40-plus yard scamper-and-scores to open up a 14-point lead on Washington in the national championship game in 2023. Though he’s behind the Buckeye duo of TreVeyon Henderson and Quinshon Judkins — who come in at No. 2 and 3 on ESPN’s list, respectively — Edwards is still considered a top 10 running back by the worldwide leader, ranking No. 7 in its list.

7. Donovan Edwards, Michigan

2023 stats: 497 yards rushing, 4.2 yards per rush, 5 rushing TDs, 30 receptions, 249 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs

Points: 35

Edwards’ rapid rise to prominence in 2022 — when he rushed for 150 yards or more three times in the last six games of the regular season and nearly 1,000 total yards on just 140 carries — slowed a bit as Blake Corum returned from injury in 2023. Corum was the Wolverines’ reliable No. 1 back and produced a 1,245-yard, 27-touchdown season.

Edwards, however, still had his bright moments as he tallied almost 500 yards and five touchdowns, including a 41-yard score in the national championship game. Edwards said afterward that he played most of the season with a partially torn patellar tendon. Now, with Corum off to the NFL and Edwards returning for his junior season, the stage is set for him to become one of the most electric and productive backs in the nation. — Paolo Uggetti

If Edwards can recapture some of the magic he had in 2022 and do it more on an every-game-basis, there’s a good chance he’ll finish the season much higher. After all, he is more of a volume back — the more carries he gets, the more likely he is to break a big one. With Corum out of the picture, he’ll have more of an opportunity to showcase his talents in his senior year, and if he can find a way to break big plays sooner in games, then it will bode well for him and his maize and blue brethren in 2024.

Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire