College Sports Communicators (formerly CoSIDA) in association with The Associated Press (AP) and the Fiesta Bowl Organization, today named Blake Corum (RB, University of Michigan), Jacob Dobbs (LB, College of the Holy Cross) and Mike Hollins (RB, University of Virginia) as winners of the 2023 Comeback Player of the Year Award.
Blake Corum, Jacob Dobbs and Mike Hollins Named 2023 Comeback Player of the Year Award Winners
Blake Corum (Senior, RB, University of Michigan)
Following a breakthrough 2022 season in which he in which he tallied 1,463 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns, Corum suffered a knee injury in the second to last game of the season against Illinois. He tried to return the following week versus Ohio State but was unable to continue after just two carries. The 5-foot-8-inch 213-pound halfback was also forced to miss the Wolverines versus TCU game in the 2023 Vrbo Fiesta Bowl.
After an off-season of intensive rehabilitation of his knee, Corum was back in the line-up on opening day against East Carolina, rushing for 73 yards and a touchdown. For the season he started all 13 games rushing for 1028 yards on 218 carries (4.7) and a Michigan record 24 rushing touchdowns including at least one score in every game. He also hauled in 14 receptions for 82 yards and earned second-team All-America honors. Incredibly, other than the 2022 season finale versus Ohio State in which he was removed after just two carries, he has scored at least one touchdown in all 24 games the past two seasons.
For his career, the native of Marshall, Virginia has 3,586 career rushing yards on 634 carries, placing him eighth all-time for the Wolverines. His 55 career rushing touchdowns are tied for second all-time with Anthony Thomas.
Jacob Dobbs (Senior, LB, College of the Holy Cross)
Coming off an impressive 2021 season in which he was named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year and a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award and earned All-America honors from Stats Perform, AFCA, HERO Sports and the Associated Press, Dobbs suffered a dislocated elbow, a torn UCL, torn forearm and torn tricep tendon in the fourth game of the 2022 season.
The 6-foot 237-pound linebacker returned for a fifth year in 2023 and re-emerged as one of the most elite defensive players in all of FCS. He was named the 2023 Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the first player in program history to earn the honor twice. He additionally was named a Buck Buchanan Award finalist, the 2023 Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year and a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy. He concluded the 2023 season with 123 tackles (63 solo), 12 tackles for loss, six quarterback sacks, three forced fumbles and 14 quarterback hurries. He recorded double-digit tackles in every contest; his 13.7 tackles per game and 7.0 solo tackles per game both ranked as the second-best marks in the nation.
The native of Macomb, Michigan concludes his career as a four-time All-Patriot League selection and three-time first team honoree and has earned All-New England honors twice in his career. He set a program record with 46.5 career tackles for loss and a Patriot League record with a total of 432 career tackles. A four-time captain for the Crusaders – just the second player in program history to hold that honor – he helped lead Holy Cross to an unprecedented five consecutive Patriot League titles, including a share of the 2023 crown, making the Crusaders the first team in Patriot League history to win five straight championships.
Mike Hollins (Senior, RB, University of Virginia)
On November 13, 2022, on a chartered bus trip returning from Washington, D.C. Hollins and teammates Devin Chandler, D’Sean Perry and Lavel Davis Jr. were among those shot. Hollins was the only one of the four Cavalier football players to survive.
Admitted to the hospital in critical condition, he was shot twice in the back in which the bullets narrowly missed his spine and created numerous injuries to his abdominal organs. He underwent two surgeries over the next few days to address those injuries and spent a week in the intensive care unit. His recovery required a period of eight weeks of inactivity to allow for healing. He returned to limited physical activity in mid-January, with the goals of increasing his fitness and regaining core stability.
Remarkably he rehabilitated his injuries in time to play in the 2023 Spring Game. During the game he scored a 1-yard rushing touchdown and paid tribute to his fallen teammates by placing the ball alongside the names of his three fallen teammates painted in the end zone.
This season the 5-9-inch 204-pound halfback was in the starting line-up on opening rushing versus James Madison, scoring two touchdowns and rushing for 28 yards on 12 carries. On the season he rushed for 274 yards and seven touchdowns on 80 carries and added 10 receptions for 34 yards and a touchdown. For his career, he played in 42 games, rushing for 814 yards and 14 touchdowns on 203 carries and added 34 receptions for 231 yards and one score.
The native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana was named the ACC’s Brian Piccolo Award as the league’s most courageous player this season and is a finalist for the 2023 Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the year Award.
Previous winners of the Comeback Player of the Year Award include: 2022 – Mohamed Ibrahim (Minnesota); Laiatu Latu (UCLA); Michael Penix Jr. (Washington); 2021 – Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan); McKenzie Milton (Florida State); J.J. Weaver (Kentucky); 2020 – Jarek Broussard (Colorado); Kenneth Horsey (Kentucky); Silas Kelly (Coastal Carolina); 2019 – Jake Luton (Oregon State); Drew Wilson (Georgia Southern); Octavion Wilson (Salisbury); 2018 – Antwan Dixon (Kent State), Seth Simmer (Dartmouth); Antonio Wimbush (Carson-Newman). For a complete list of past honorees, visit www.Comeback-Player.com.
College Football Comeback Player Award Winners
The award recognizes college football student-athletes for overcoming injury, illness, or other circumstances. The three honorees were selected in a vote by a panel of AP writers, editors, sports information directors, and Fiesta Bowl Organization representatives. Here’s a look at their remarkable comeback stories.