Michigan football fell short in the College Football Playoff semifinal against TCU. Now three stars won’t be back, but some will still be returning in 2023.
Coming into the Fiesta Bowl, the predominant narrative was that the Michigan Wolverines would simply overwhelm TCU and move on to the National Championship Game for either a rematch of last year’s semifinal against Georgia or a vaunted rematch against rival Ohio State. Instead, Jim Harbaugh’s team will be watching the Horned Frogs play while they sit back in Ann Arbor.
Things started snowballing early for the Wolverines as TCU continued to jump on each mistake that Michigan made. The favorites trailed by 15 at halftime and as many as 19 in the third quarter. But they fought back and were down only six points as they got the ball back with roughly 50 seconds remaining. The drive was ill-fated and, while a no-call for targeting was questionable, Michigan took the loss.
Now comes an offseason as the team reflects on missed opportunities but, more importantly, in which the Wolverines will have to see some talented players depart. The good news is that plenty of stars are still going to be back. Let’s take a look at three players in each camp as we look ahead to the 2023 season for Harbaugh and his team.
Michigan football star who won’t be back in 2023: Blake Corum, RB
Blake Corum has not yet made his draft decision but, for me, it would be ludicrous for him to return if there’s not a ridiculous amount of NIL money coming his way.
The running back was on track to be in New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony prior to getting injured against Illinois (and maybe still should’ve been invited) and his draft stock will likely never be higher. Furthermore, the injury could be a sobering reminder that one play can further diminish his future at the next level, thus leading to my supposition that he’s leaving Ann Arbor after this season.
That’s going to be a blow, make no mistake. Corum was the workhorse for this power-rushing attack as he ran for 1,463 yards and 18 touchdowns in only 10.5 games this year. This offense can cycle in backs, but Corum proved to be one of the best in recent memory.
Michigan football star who will return for 2023: Donovan Edwards, RB
Good news for Wolverines fans, though. In the absence of Corum, one thing that was made perfectly clear was that Donovan Edwards isn’t only capable of taking over as the lead running back in the Michigan offense moving forward, he might be even more dangerous and explosive in that role than his uber-successful predecessor was.
Edwards only had 117 total carries on the season prior to the Fiesta Bowl but still rushed for 872 yards and seven scores, good for 7.5 yards per carry. Moreover, in the three games as a starter against Ohio State, Purdue and TCU, Edwards rushed for 119 yards or more in each contest and totaled 520 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Not too shabby.
The Wolverines offense can succeed with a passable running back. Edwards, however, could possibly elevate that element of the attack to new heights with a full season as the RB1.