The Michigan Wolverines’ offense has garnered most of the headlines thus far in 2022, but the defense has played exceptionally well for most of the year as well.
Michigan’s defense held Michigan State to zero points in the second half of their game two Saturdays ago, winning 29-7, and also shut out the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on the road in Piscataway, New Jersey this past Saturday after trailing 17-14 going into the locker room at halftime.
One of the Wolverines’ young potential current and future stars is Will Johnson, who was part of the team’s highly-touted recruiting class.
Johnson, who played his high school ball in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, is a 6-foot-3, 190 pound cornerback with excellent awareness, athleticism, and ball skills, not unlike many of the Wolverines’ all-time greats including former Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson and Ty Law.
Johnson has gotten extended playing time lately and has made the most of it, as shown in the highlight clip below.
He intercepted talented Rutgers quarterback Gavin Wimsatt on Saturday, jumping a route, securing the ball and returning it deep into Scarlet Knights territory.
Johnson showed incredible balance and the vision of a running back as he maneuvered his way around Rutgers defenders, showing off an impressive spin move.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) November 6, 2022
Johnson called playing for the Wolverines a “blessing” and said he is “living the dream” in a press conference video shared by 247Sports.com writer Alejandro Zúñiga recently.
Will Johnson says he’s “living the dream” as a starter for a top-five Michigan team:
— Alejandro Zúñiga (@ByAZuniga) November 7, 2022
Johnson has nine total tackles on the season to go along with his interception, showing off the coverage skills and physicality that made him one of the top defensive recruits in the nation last year.
As Michigan prepares to face Nebraska, Illinois, and finally, Heisman Trophy candidate QB C.J. Stroud and the Ohio State passing attack in the stretch run of their 2022-2023 season, Johnson’s could become the difference maker on what could be Michigan’s second consecutive Big Ten championship team.
He will certainly have his hands full against a deep and talented OSU receiving corps, but as evidenced by the video below, Johnson possesses the tackling ability and all-around skills that make him someone to be accounted for by opposing offenses at all times, not unlike Mr. Woodson himself.
What a play by true freshman Will Johnson here to tackle Jayden Reed!
Go Blue! 〽️ pic.twitter.com/87Xy52K81V
— JD 〽️ (@MGoJDBlue) October 30, 2022