University of Michigan senior running back and Marshall native Blake Corum has been named a finalist for the Wuerffel Trophy. The Wuerffel Trophy celebrates and honors college football players who exemplify a commitment to serving others and inspiring a culture of impactful service worldwide. Corum is joined by Notre Dame’s JD Bertrand and Georgia’s Ladd McConkey as the three finalists, with the winner to be announced on Dec. 8.
Corum, a Saint Frances Academy football alum, is Michigan's first Wuerffel Trophy finalist. He is studying sports management in Michigan’s School of Kinesiology and was one of 120 players named to the award watchlist last season. As a distinguished member of the National College Football Awards Association, which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football, the Wuerffel Trophy holds the distinction of being the first major award that honored the character of service to others, according to the Wuerffel Foundation.
“This award represents that which is good in the world of college sports,” the foundation states.
"It is truly an honor to be named a finalist for the Wuerffel Trophy. I like to say, 'Football is my passion, but giving back is my purpose,' and I have tried to put that into action during my time at Michigan,” Corum told FauquierNow. “It is nice to be seen by the Wuerffel Foundation as someone who meets the criteria for this prestigious award. I am grateful and humbled to be included."
Corum is fresh off rushing for two touchdowns in the Wolverines’ 26-0 Big Ten Championship win over Iowa Saturday night. His two touchdowns made for 55 in his Michigan career, tying the school record. Undefeated Michigan was one of four teams selected for the College Football Playoff Sunday.
A 2022 First-Team All-American and a 2023 midseason pick, Corum has been active in the Michigan community since joining the Wolverines program in January 2020. This November marked the third year Corum hosted his "Giving Back 2 Give Thanks" event, where he uses money generated from his Name, Image and Likeness, or NIL, funds to give back to his college community. According to a news release, this year Corum provided more than 600 Thanksgiving turkey meals and donated gallons of milk for those in need in the Michigan city of Ypsilanti. Over the past three years, he has donated more than 1,000 Thanksgiving meals.
Among his various accolades, Corum has also received recognition for the BC2 Youth Football Camp he hosts annually in Marshall. His most recent camp, held in June, was attended by hundreds of young players.
“Coming from Fauquier County, I try to be an inspiration and show everyone that, even if you come from a small town in Fauquier, you can do the same thing I did with hard work and determination and consistency," he said. "That's why I came back home and started the BC2 Youth Football Camp.”
Working with and engaging the next generation, especially kids coming from the area he grew up in, is something Corum holds close. “I hope [the kids] learn and take away that whatever they put their minds to, they can achieve,” he said. “ It doesn’t matter if anyone doesn’t believe in you, as long as you believe in yourself.”
Not only does Corum hope that kids leave their time with him hopeful for the future and dreaming big, but that they will remember their experience and one day pay it forward. “What I get out of this is the hope that maybe one, two or three or however many kids I meet take what I give them and apply it to their life and reach their goals. I want the kids to use me as an example to get to wherever they want to go, whether that be football or being a musician,” Corum said. “When they become successful one day they can give back just like I am.”
The Wuerffel Trophy nominations were submitted by the Sports Information Departments of the respective universities. A selection committee is tasked with choosing three finalists from a pool of over 100 nominees.
The official announcement of the 2023 recipient is slated for December 8 during The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN. The presentation of the 2023 Wuerffel Trophy is set to take place on February 17, 2024, at the College Football Hall of Fame. The recipient will also receive an invitation to the Heisman Ceremony and Gala in New York City.
Previous recipients of the Wuerffel Trophy include notable individuals such as Rudy Niswanger from LSU in 2005, Joel Penton from Ohio State in 2006, Paul Smith from Tulsa in 2007, Tim Tebow from Florida in 2008, and a list of distinguished personalities spanning from 2009 to 2022, with Dillan Gibbons of Florida State being the latest recipient in 2022.