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Michigan’s Will Johnson the highest-graded 5-star freshman in 2022

Michigan standout cornerback Will Johnson was the highest-graded 5-star freshman of 2022, according to Pro Football Focus.



Michigan defensive back Will Johnson celebrates a play against Nebraska during the second half of U-M's 34-3 win over Nebraska on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Ann Arbor.

Last Wednesday, Pro Football Focus (PFF) released their top 32 5-star true freshmen in 2022. At the top of the list was a familiar face for Michigan football fans: Wolverine standout defensive back Will Johnson.

Throughout the 2022 college football season, Will Johnson reminded fans time and time again why he was among Jim Harbaugh’s highest-touted recruits. PFF, one of the most well-respected football data sites, clearly agrees, as they placed Johnson at the top of his class.

Will Johnson in 2022

During Michigan’s historic 13-1 season, freshman corner helped the Wolverines defeat the Ohio State Buckeyes, win a second-straight Big Ten Championship, and more en route to a standout freshman season.

Will Johnson appeared in all 14 of Michigan’s football games throughout 2022, making five starts at cornerback and seeing a great deal of playing time on defense and special teams. The Detroit native had his best career game during the Wolverines’ 43-22 win over Purdue in the Big Ten Championship game; Johnson made two tackles and hauled in two interceptions in Michigan’s 21-point win.

During Johnson’s impressive freshman season, the former 5-star posted some incredible numbers. 27 tackles (25 solo), three interceptions, and three pass breakups. These numbers and Johnson’s performance earned him All-American honors (PFF, 247Sports, and The Athletic) and Michigan’s Defensive Freshman of the Year Award.

Johnson will be Michigan’s top defensive back in 2023

As Michigan football looks to turn the page from 2022 to 2023, the Wolverines’ defensive backfield is now led by none other than rising sophomore Will Johnson. As Michigan is losing two of its top corners — Gemon Green and DJ Turner — to the NFL Draft, Michigan could still use some help in the cornerback department.

That being said, the Wolverines could easily hit the portal or decide to rely on its current in-house talent. As a sophomore in 2023, there are high hopes for Will Johnson and the Wolverines; now, Michigan football must deliver another Big Ten title and more.

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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.