Blake Corum: Leading the Way in The NIL Arena

September 18, 2023

Athlete Studio

Since the introduction of Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL), Michigan players have not only seen their bank accounts grow, but their performance on the field has intensified. Contrary to concerns about its impact on team culture, NIL has instead reinforced the Michigan Wolverines' unity and strengthened their bonds with each other and the fan base.

Initially hesitant to fully embrace NIL, the University of Michigan has thrived in this new era, thanks in large part to one standout star who understands the system and its beneficiaries.

Blake Corum, a rising sophomore at the time of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in NCAA v. Alston in June 2021, quickly recognized the potential. He understood that the most marketable individuals are often the ones scoring touchdowns. With the kickoff of NIL, Corum saw his chance to shine.

Since the Alston ruling, Corum has scored an impressive 31 touchdowns. With back-to-back seasons of 952 and 1,463 rushing yards, he has become a serious contender for the Heisman Trophy. But his success extends beyond the field.

Corum's financial acumen has allowed him to invest in his future. He purchased two rental properties in his home state of Virginia and even invested in an apartment complex in Michigan. His goal? To ensure a steady cash flow even after his college days are over. He understands the importance of financial stability, remarking, "A lot of kids leave college, and they don't have any money. They just have debt."

Corum's popularity and marketability have led to numerous NIL deals. From partnerships with Bose and Subway to collaborations with the National Guard and Wolverine boots, he has become a sought-after figure in the business world. Yet, Corum remains grounded, combining the shrewdness of a successful entrepreneur with the idealism of a college student.

While he keeps his exact income under wraps, Corum proudly claims to be part of the "1 percent." This reference to the Occupy Wall Street movement highlights his awareness of income inequality. Furthermore, he actively supports various charities and has even donated 300 turkeys to local families during Thanksgiving.

While NIL may seem like a platform for the most accomplished athletes to capitalize on their achievements, it actually enhances a team's competitive culture. For decades, coaches have instilled the belief that hard work, discipline, and good grades would eventually lead to rewards in school, the professional realm, or life in general. However, these rewards often took years to materialize. NIL changes the game. Elite college athletes now have the opportunity to gain or lose money on a daily basis.

According to Corum, NIL "gives you the freedom to make the choice you want to make." This newfound freedom led fellow Michigan player Keegan to make a significant decision. After their disappointing loss in the College Football Playoff semifinals last December, Keegan realized he didn't want his final game to be against TCU. He wanted to leave on a better note and pursue personal aspirations as well.

Although Keegan estimated that he would have been selected somewhere between the late-third and sixth rounds of the draft, he made a substantial amount of money in a single month. From the Big Ten championship to the bowl game, he earned around $50,000 to $70,000. Ultimately, he chose to remain at Michigan and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in the School of Social Work.

The rise of Blake Corum and the impact of NIL at the University of Michigan showcase the immense potential and opportunities that this new landscape brings to college athletes. As they continue to excel on and off the field, these players prove that the era of NIL is not just about personal gain, but also about strengthening team dynamics and securing a brighter future.

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