Ranking The Top 5 Michigan RBs From The Jim Harbaugh Era

Michigan has been one of the top rushing teams in football. But which running backs were the best under Jim Harbaugh?
Michigan running back Blake Corum (2) takes off on a 30-yard touchdown run in the second half of an NCAA football game against Penn State Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, in State College, Pa.
Michigan running back Blake Corum (2) takes off on a 30-yard touchdown run in the second half of an NCAA football game against Penn State Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, in State College, Pa. / Dan Rainville / USA TODAY NETWORK

Jim Harbaugh coached a successful tenure with Michigan from 2015-2023 before heading back to the NFL. While Harbaugh is now with the Los Angeles Chargers, Wolverine fans will always remember what Harbaugh did for Michigan and what he did to bring the Wolverines back to a perennial power.

Outside of having a great defense during his final three seasons in Ann Arbor, one thing that Harbaugh was always known for was his smash-mouth style of offense. Harbaugh enjoyed running the football north and south and rotated his running backs heavily. There were plenty of solid running backs that came through Michigan under Harbaugh, but these were the top five.

Ranking The Top 5 Michigan QBs From The Jim Harbaugh Era

1. Blake Corum (2020-2023)

Blake Corum
Michigan running back Blake Corum (2) runs against Ohio State during the second half at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Career stats: 674 carries for 3,737 yards (5.5 YPC) and 58 touchdowns; 56 receptions for 411 yards and three touchdowns

Blake Corum is arguably the top player Jim Harbaugh ever coached, period. Corum, a two-time All-American, and two-time top-10 Heisman vote-getter, broke the Michigan single-season rushing touchdown record in 2023 with 27 touchdowns. He finished his career with the most rushing touchdowns after scoring 58 of them.

Corum helped shift the culture in Michigan's favor and was tough as nails. He came back his senior season after suffering a season-ending injury in 2022 and helped the Wolverines go 15-0 and win a national title. He had a stretch in his career where he rushed for over 100 yards in eight games in a row.

2. Hassan Haskins (2018-2021)

Hassan Haskins
Dec 4, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan Wolverines running back Hassan Haskins (25) runs the ball in the second half against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Career stats: 452 carries for 2,324 yards (5.1 YPC) and 30 touchdowns; 24 receptions for 171 yards

Hassan Haskins was well known around the Michigan program in 2019 and 2020 but he really burst onto the scene in 2021. Haskins rushed for 1,327 yards en route to becoming an All-American in '21. Michigan fans will always remember his 169-yard and five-touchdown performance against Ohio State that year. Haskins had Blake Corum to contend with that year, but Haskins was the top back that year before Corum had his turn in '22.

3. Karan Higdon (2015-2018)

Karan Higdon
Sep 2, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Michigan Wolverines running back Karan Higdon (22) leaps over tackle Nolan Ulizio (70) and Florida Gators cornerback Duke Dawson (7) in the third quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports / Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Career stats: 471 carries for 2,616 yards (5.6 YPC) and 27 touchdowns; 16 receptions for 177 yards

Karan Higdon was Michigan's lead back in 2017 and 2018. He nearly broke 1,000 yards in '17 but he did do so in '18 after rushing for 1,178. He became the first Wolverines' running back since 2011 to break the 1,000-yard mark.

Higdon had two 200-yard performances in 2017. He then surpassed 100 yards in seven games in a row in 2018. He became a first-team All-Big Ten member in '18.

4. Donovan Edwards (2021-present)

Donovan Edwards
Michigan running back Donovan Edwards runs for a touchdown during the first half of the national championship game at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024. / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Career stats: 294 yards for 1,662 yards (5.7 YPC) and 15 touchdowns; 68 receptions for 714 yards and three touchdowns

If all goes to plan in 2024, Edwards will surely go up on this list. 2024 will be Edwards' first time being the lead running back in his career. He has made four career starts at Michigan when Blake Corum was down and he shined during that time in his sophomore year.

Edwards ran for 119-plus yards in the final three games during the 2022 season. He rushed for 216 yards and two scores against Ohio State during that time. Then in 2023, he saved his biggest game for last against Washington in the national title game. Edwards erupted for 104 yards on six carries including two long touchdown runs.

5. De'Veon Smith (2013-2016)

De'Veon Smith
Nov 19, 2016; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines running back De'Veon Smith (4) stiff arms Indiana Hoosiers linebacker Tegray Scales (8) in the first half at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

495 carries for 2,235 yards (4.5 YPC) and 22 touchdowns; 38 receptions for 251 yards and one touchdown

De'Veon Smith was Jim Harbaugh's first running back. Smith rotated with Drake Johnson and Derrick Green, but Smith was the man that year. The 5-foot-11 bowling ball was tough to bring down when he got his feet moving.

Smith never broke 1,000 yards in any of his seasons at Michigan, but he was consistent. He had 753 and 846 yards during his junior and senior seasons in Ann Arbor.

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Trent Knoop