2011 Countdown: #12 Carvin Johnson

2011 Countdown: #12 Carvin Johnson

August 19, 2011
Carvin Johnson

Name: Carvin Johnson
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 200 lbs.
High school: Rummel High School in Metairie, LA
Position: Strong safety
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #13
Last year: I ranked Johnson #67 and said he would redshirt.  He started 3 games at outside linebacker and had 18 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 1 pass breakup.

Johnson’s role on the 2010 team was a little bit mysterious to me.  As a true freshman, he came in and immediately started at a position that he hadn’t played in high school; as a 195-pounder he was playing outside linebacker on a team that had more physically ready players at the position, such as redshirt freshman Thomas Gordon (23 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks).  Meanwhile, the team was experimenting with tiny freshmen like Courtney Avery and Terrence Talbott at safety.  Johnson’s starting role was somewhat short-lived, however, once he hurt his shoulder in the opener against Connecticut and missed the next three games.  He returned and played sporadically for the rest of the season, most notably notching 6 tackles against Mississippi State on New Year’s Day, but his debut season was largely forgettable for fans.

Then came the spring.  By the time April rolled around, Johnson was earning rave reviews from practice observers and after the spring game.  He turned a couple bad throws in the spring game and turned them into excellent interceptions and generally looked like the ballhawking safety that Michigan has been lacking for the last several years.  He even had decent enough speed to hunt down Denard Robinson on a long run, something we haven’t been able to say for a Michigan safety in a while.  With Marvin Robinson struggling to stick with assignments, Josh Furman looking uncomfortable in open space, and Jordan Kovacs somewhat limited athletically, Johnson has set himself apart as a near lock to start in the defensive backfield and could perhaps be an All-Big Ten performer by the time he graduates.

Prediction: 55 tackles, 3 interceptions


  1. Comments: 21384
    Aug 19, 2011 at 4:05 PM

    Hopefully it's nothing but a couple practices, but the rumblings that Johnson will be benched for Floyd (with Woolfolk to Safety) are concerning.

  2. Comments: 21384
    Aug 19, 2011 at 4:33 PM

    @ Lankownia 12:05 p.m.

    I don't find them that concerning. Johnson is a sophomore at a position that is better suited for experienced players. You put your best 11 on the field, and it's nice that Woolfolk gives the defense some flexibility if they need it. If Johnson is our fifth or sixth or seventh best defensive back, then he shouldn't necessarily start because the roster says "S" next to his name. I'm fine with the coaches putting those other guys at safety, as long as it's not an undersized tyke like Terrence Talbott or Courtney Avery.

  3. Comments: 21384
    Aug 19, 2011 at 5:18 PM

    Maybe the Woolfolk-to-safety possibility is because Countess and Taylor are playing really well at CB (so a good 2nd string behind Avery and Floyd)? BTN guys mentioned them as likely to play this year… if that counts for anything.

  4. Comments: 21384
    Painter Smurf
    Aug 19, 2011 at 5:33 PM

    I don't see any way Floyd beats out Johnson. He is coming off a bad injury and he has no recent safety experience. Floyd is also relatively slow for a player his size (185 lbs?), and I am quite sure Johnson is a better tackler. Not that Johnson is a burner – just can't imagine Floyd bringing anything to the table.

    I believe Johnson has a nice future too. Considering he was yanked around by last year's staff, he did not look incompetent out there. I questioned at beginning of last season why Johnson was playing Spur and Cam Gordon playing FS. Apparently, it takes a major coaching change for some obvious player/position issues to be resolved. It's too bad because Johnson should have more game experience playing center field.

  5. Comments: 21384
    Aug 19, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    @ Painter Smurf 1:33 p.m.

    The rumors aren't that Floyd might beat out Johnson at safety. The thought is that the best four defensive backs might be Floyd and Avery (at cornerback) and Woolfolk and Kovacs (at safety). In other words, Floyd might be a better CB than Johnson is a S.

  6. Comments: 21384
    Aug 19, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    Honestly if Floyd is starting I think we're in big trouble again – he was terrible last year (still having nightmares about Iowa and PSU). There is no way he is ever going to be athletic enough to keep up with Big Ten receivers.

    Here's to hoping that Carvin can play well enough to keeping Troy at CB.

  7. Comments: 21384
    Aug 19, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    I don't get the Floyd hating. He played with 3 inexperienced DBs and played in a system that put no pressure on the QB. Any DB not named Charles Woodson would have looked bad. Plus, if he's not better than Johnson than the coaches wouldn't start him. I trust Hoke and this staff to evaluate who their best starters are over a bunch of anonymous commentators.

    Any chance Michigan goes with two ball hawking safeties (Johnson + Woolfolk) when we're in a dime situation or facing a team that throws a ton and we switch in Kovacs in run situations or against MSU/Wisconsin?

    If the above scenario doesn't happen is there a chance we use Furman or Robinson as the backup so we can redshirt Johnson? I know Johnson's better but isn't a redshirt worth more than 5 odd plays a game? Plus, Furman and Robinson have already redshirted (I believe) and should be ST demons with their speed and size.

  8. Comments: 21384
    Aug 20, 2011 at 2:55 AM


    Kovacs + lead block = doom. Kovacs will be used for everything or not at all.

    Floyd is a decently intelligent player, but he suffers from subpar athleticism. He's also a godawful tackler.

    Furman redshirted, Robinson did not.

    I don't understand this "redshirt after freshman year" meme that's hopping around. And no, a redshirt is not worth more than those 5-odd plays a game, depending on what those plays are.

  9. Comments: 21384
    Aug 20, 2011 at 10:27 AM

    @ KB 4:02 p.m.

    I don't think Kovacs is going to be a situational player. I think he's going to be a full-time starter at safety.

    I don't think there's any chance that Johnson redshirts this season. Furman redshirted last season, but Robinson played. I think it's more likely that Robinson redshirts rather than Johnson, but it's very rare that somebody redshirts after their freshman year, unless it's due to injury (like Woolfolk) or suspension (like Stonum).

  10. Comments: 21384
    Aug 20, 2011 at 10:29 AM

    @ David 10:55 p.m.

    Redshirting after freshman year has become a big theme probably because of video games like "NCAA Football" because anytime you have a backup who hasn't redshirted, you can just sit him out for the year with no negative consequences. It's unrealistic.

  11. Comments: 21384
    Aug 22, 2011 at 9:44 PM

    I don't think it comes from NCAA football as much as from Rich Rod not redshirting anyone. We would be much better off if Campbell had redshirted and Denard and Devin, etc. I just thought a new coaching staff might be okay redshirting a player that should have been redshirted but wasn't due to a lack of depth (this is particularly true for Johnson) or coaching error (Gardner).

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