There are a lot of questions surrounding Michigan football heading into the 2024 season. But one thing that shouldn't be questioned is the ability of the Wolverines to run the ball.
Yes, Michigan football will be losing quite possibly the greatest running back in Wolverines history. There's no doubt in my mind that Blake Corum belongs on the Mount Rushmore of Michigan football players. He was incredible. But that doesn't mean the Wolverines won't be able to run the ball next season.
Sure, all five offensive linemen are gone. Trente Jones won't return, but Myles Hinton is back and there are some quality backups, plus Michigan has already added Josh Priebe via the transfer portal. He was a Third-Team All-Big Ten guard last season for Northwestern.
Greg Crippen or Raheem Anderson will take over at center. Both are starting-caliber players in my opinion. So is Giovanni El-Hadi.
Michigan's interior offensive line will be as good as any in the Big Ten in my opinion next season. Tackle will take some development. Myles Hinton was good at times last season, but needs to improve in pass protection. Jeffrey Persi is the other guy I project to start right now, although Andrew Genry and Tristan Bounds are other candidates to start at tackle. Amir Herring is another name to know at guard.
Depth won't be an issue for the offensive line. If Jim Harbaugh leaves for the NFL and Sherrone Moore takes over as head coach, I hope that Grant Newsome stays to become the offensive line coach. Kirk Campbell could take over as the offensive coordinator in addition to coaching quarterbacks.
All that means that the offensive philosophy isn't going to change and it shouldn't. You win with elite line play and while Michigan football might not be able to recruit as well as some other programs, at least according to recruiting rankings, it knows how to recruit AND develop offensive lineman.
Michigan football will run the damn ball just fine in 2024
Donovan Edwards is also a former five-star prospect (via 247 Sports own rankings) and he played like it in the national championship game with two 40-yard touchdowns. He also had a legendary game against Ohio State in 2022, as well as winning the Big Ten title game MVP that same season.
Edwards is a big-time playmaker. And getting him the ball 20 carries a game will help him be much more effective. Kalel Mullings is also ready for a much bigger role and with Mullings and Edwards, as well as Benjamin Hall, Cole Cabana, and incoming top-100 freshman Jordan Marshall, the running game should be elite once again.
Pair that with a defense that returns essentially eight starters or starting-caliber players: Mason Graham, Kenneth Grant, Will Johnson, Ernest Hausmann, Derrick Moore, Josaiah Stewart, Makari Paige, and Rod Moore. Plus, Jaishawn Barnham was a starter for Maryland, and as we saw down the stretch, Keon Sabb is already a starting-level player.
Michigan football needs to figure out the quarterback spot, but outside of that, the Wolverines are loaded once again, even if they didn't buy a bunch of players out of the transfer portal.