Weight: 212 lbs.
High school: Ann Arbor (MI) Pioneer
Position: Running back
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: #20 (changed from #29)
Last year: I ranked Johnson #84 and said he would redshirt. He redshirted.
Johnson entered college last year as a lightly regarded football player. He spent a good deal of time concentrating on track in high school, so some thought that he would improve as a football player once he concentrated on the gridiron. In the run-up to the bowl game against South Carolina, head coach Brady Hoke said that he wished kids could play in bowl games without ruining their redshirts. That sounded positive for Johnson, but keep in mind that Fitzgerald Toussaint had a broken leg and Thomas Rawls had an undisclosed injury. The crew of running backs was narrowed down to converted quarterback Denard Robinson, then-senior Vincent Smith, and then-redshirt freshman Justice Hayes. Johnson proceeded to look pretty average in the spring game, in my opinion.
Going into the 2013 season, Toussaint should return and elite running back recruit Derrick Green will be on campus. Rawls and Hayes both have some experience, and freshman DeVeon Smith will also be competing for backup duties. I don't think Johnson will factor into the running back rotation much, but I do think he could help out on kick returns and coverage units. Rawls and Hayes don't appear to be long-term answers at the running back position, so the coaches might give Johnson a chance to establish himself as a feature back going forward.
Prediction: Backup running back, special teamer