The 2022 Michigan Wolverines ran, passed, kicked and defended their way to an undefeated regular season on the strength of a team rich with both experience and youth, a perfect mix of seasoned veterans and talented freshmen.
It was a total team effort for Michigan en route to a 12-0 record and 45-23 demolition of Ohio State on the road, and now, the team’s unsung freshmen are among those receiving accolades.
Two Wolverines players, defensive tackle Mason Graham and cornerback Will Johnson, have been honored by Pro Football Focus, the popular football scouting website, for their contributions to the 2022 Michigan Wolverines team.
They were chosen as members of PFF’s 2022 All-True Freshman team.
Mason Graham Among Michigan All-Freshman Honorees
Graham started at defensive tackle for Michigan and began playing his best football toward the end of the season for a stout Michigan defense.
He finished with 24 tackles including 11 solo, 2.5 sacks and one pass defensed on the season.
More importantly he was an anchor on the interior of a defensive line that started the season with a ton of depth only to watch a relatively unheralded freshman from Anaheim, California wrestle away a starting spot.
Mason, a star former high school wrestler, held up well in the trenches for the Wolverines, utilizing his 6-foot-3, 317 pound frame and understanding of leverage to make plays in the middle while holding up well at the point of attack all season long.
Will Johnson Also Named to PFF All-Freshman Team
The second Wolverines honoree is cornerback Will Johnson, a former five-star prospect from Grosse Pointe, Michigan.
Johnson came in with high praise and his choice of the #2 jersey — the same number as former Michigan legend Charles Woodson, only added to the expectations.
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound defensive back showed flashes of Woodson level talent this season, recording 23 tackles in limited action, 22 of them solo, along with one interception.
He showed incredible athleticism, body control, balance, tackling skills, and ball skills during his time on the field, ascending to a starring role down the stretch of Michigan’s first undefeated regular season since the program’s 1997 national championship team.
Perhaps the most exciting part of Johnson’s game is his ability to fly in and make surefire tackles on the sideline reminiscent of Woodson, as shown in the video below.
Anytime you can get a free legal hit on the QB, take it. And make him think about it.
Will Johnson gets one in here. pic.twitter.com/tADC2yHj8r
— Due# (@JDue51) November 27, 2022
He also shows the ability to pluck the ball out of the air like an all-conference receiver, which should find him on the end of several game changing plays in the coming weeks and years.
Not a food throw by the QB.
He just kinda lobs this up there and Will Johnson gets his first interception at Michigan pic.twitter.com/tuBQ4ru3KD
— Due# (@JDue51) November 6, 2022
The final PFF All-Freshman Team featured zero Ohio State Buckeyes, the aforementioned two Wolverines, and five Big Ten players in total.
It can be viewed in full by clicking on this link.