Michigan has long been known for featuring star ball-carriers. And if they weren’t stars in the beginning, they eventually developed into stars. Guys like De’Veon Smith and Karan Higdon served as major contributors to offensive success after easing into their roles, both finishing as top 25 career rushers at Michigan.

Traditionally, Michigan runs the ball and runs it well.

This season, the Wolverines might field their best backfield in more than a decade, if not longer. The potential of a Donovan Edwards-Blake Corum 1-2 punch can’t be denied. Those guys are scary good and already provided a glimpse into their futures during spectacular 2021 seasons.

This past season, Michigan ran for 214.4 yards per game, a huge increase from just 131 and change the previous season and 1 yard better than the Wolverines’ previous best mark during the Jim Harbaugh era, 213.3 yards in 2016 — and the 2016 team was widely regarded as Harbaugh’s best before UM’s incredible run to a Big Ten title and College Football Playoff spot in 2021.

Michigan RB coach Mike Hart, a program legend and all-time rushing leader, has done an admirable job by making an already strong unit even stronger.

Edwards, a true freshman this past season, turned a lot of heads with his athleticism. Not only can he run the ball, but he can catch and throw it too. He has the moves and ball skills of a slot WR packed into an RB package. At 6-foot and 202 pounds, the 5-star recruit is built for what he’s done thus far at Michigan.

Rushing 35 times for 174 yards and 3 touchdowns, Edwards proved that he’s going to be a staple in UM’s backfield for the next 2 years at least. Granted, 86 of those yards and 2 of the touchdowns were against Northern Illinois, but Edwards still did damage with a rushing TD against Iowa in the B1G title bout — so he’s definitely a big-game type of player, even if we’re just looking at one example.

Against Maryland, he had 10 catches for 170 yards, serving as a safety net while Corum was out with a lower-body injury. Highlighted by a 77-yard TD reception, Edwards dominated the Terps by catching 7 or 8 in the flat. He lined up in the backfield and ran a wheel route on the TD strike.

He’s shown he can take over a game. He’s demonstrated the ability to run the ball. Watch out for Edwards, because he might end up being Michigan’s MVP.

If he’s not, it could be Corum, who has stats upon stats to support the idea of him being the most elusive and electric player in the Big Ten, if not the whole country.

Prior to suffering the lower-body injury, Corum was easily one of the hottest players in college football, erupting with an insanely productive September and quickly becoming a player to watch even in a supporting role behind Hassan Haskins.

At one time, he was among the leaders in all-purpose yardage. Despite having just 15 carries and limited production — he wasn’t 100 percent — during the final 4 games, he still finished No. 44 overall in all-purpose yardage, checking in with 1,397 total and an average of 116.2 per game. With 952 rushing yards, he nearly became the 4th 1,000-yard RB of the Harbaugh era (Smith, Higdon, Haskins).

Corum has regularly posted inspirational sayings and photos on social media, letting everyone know that he has just gotten started — and really, the general public hasn’t even seen his true peak. At least that’s the feeling after viewing his posts. He’s determined and ready to elevate Michigan to even greater heights.

With 4 100-yard games and 87 yards against Ohio State this past season, there is no reason to doubt Corum’s chances of stacking up a handful of triple-digit games as a junior, especially now that Haskins has moved on to the NFL.

Michigan has pieces in place to field an extremely dangerous offense, starting with its RB tandem of Edwards and Corum. Yes, Michigan threw the ball and opened the aerial playbook in 2021, but it’ll never give up on its bread and butter, and that’s the run game — a run game that seems to have steadily gotten better since the Harbaugh arrived.