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Michigan football: what does Cornelius Johnson’s return mean for U-M?

On Sunday, Michigan football received a number of major returnees. Among these is Cornelius Johnson, a starting wide receiver.



Michigan football recruiting, Gatlin Bair
Nov 26, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Michigan Wolverines wide receiver Cornelius Johnson (6) runs the ball for a touchdown after he makes a reception in the first half against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday, a number of Michigan’s top starters from its 2022 squad announced that they will be heading back to Ann Arbor in 2023. To start the day, the Wolverines’ two-time All-Big Ten right guard, Zak Zinter, announced that he will be back in 2023. If that was not big enough news for the day, Michigan starting linebacker Mike Barrett announced that he would be back soon after. Finally, as the day came to a close, Cornelius Johnson — one of Michigan’s top wide outs — announced that he will also be back in 2023.

What does Johnson’s return mean for Michigan football?

Cornelius Johnson is one more weapon that will be on Michigan’s sideline in 2023. So far, the Wolverines’ offense — which ranked No. 6 in scoring and total offense in 2022 — is looking unstoppable yet again in 2023. Under center will be rising junior JJ McCarthy who will have Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards behind him in the backfield.

If the best RB duo in the nation was not enough, Michigan is returning much of its 2022 offensive line — including Zak Zinter and Trevor Keegan — which won the Joe Moore Award for the second-straight year. Additionally, the Wolverines are adding three more experienced and talented transfer lineman to the room via the transfer portal.

Now, Michigan will return one of its top receivers from the 2022 team: Cornelius Johnson. In Michigan’s biggest game of the 2022 season — a 45-23 win at No. 2 Ohio State — Johnson caught four passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns. The Wolverines were looking a bit thin at wide out, so this returnee is much appreciated and is just another weapon in the Wolverines’ arsenal.

Cornelius Johnson in for a huge year in 2023

Johnson will be in his fifth year with the Wolverines in 2023 and should be in for a massive season. After the 2022 season, we know that JJ McCarthy is a phenomenal starting QB and is capable of putting up gaudy numbers when the Wolverines open up the playbook for him.

Now that McCarthy and Johnson have put up huge numbers in big time games, such as Michigan’s win over Ohio State, I suspect Jim Harbaugh and Co. will be much more willing to open up the playbook for McCarthy and Johnson to connect downfield frequently.

CJ has covered college athletics in paid roles for around five years, including numerous sports and beats. His most recent work revolves largely around Penn State and Michigan football and basketball. Right now, CJ is the publisher of Blue by Ninety, where he also serves as the site's credentialed football reporter. Previously, CJ has made stops with Fansided, The Michigan Daily, and more.