2023 Season Countdown: #12 Cornelius Johnson

2023 Season Countdown: #12 Cornelius Johnson

August 24, 2023
Cornelius Johnson (image via Wolverines Wire)

Name: Cornelius Johnson
208 lbs.
High school
Greenwich (CT) Brunswick
Wide receiver
Fifth year senior
Jersey number: 
Last year: 
I ranked Johnson #13 and said he would be a starting wide receiver with 36 catches for 560 yards and 5 touchdowns (LINK). He started all fourteen games and made 32 catches for 499 yards and 6 touchdowns.
TTB Rating:

Johnson had his most exciting season in 2022, and that season came down to one game: Ohio State. In just that one game, he caught 4 passes for 160 yards and 2 touchdowns. (In other words, he had just 28 catches for 339 yards and 4 touchdowns the rest of the year.) But the Buckeyes couldn’t tackle him and couldn’t cover him in space with a backup safety, so some of my favorite memories from last year have Johnson running free in Ohio Stadium on the way to two huge scores, both in distance and meaning.

As mentioned above, the rest of Johnson’s 2022 year was largely forgettable. He followed up that performance against OSU with 1 catch for 9 yards against Purdue and 2 catches for 30 yards against TCU. In fact, on seven different occasions last year, he was held to just 1 or 2 catches.

But all of that took place in the Ronnie Bell era, and the Ronnie Bell era is over. Bell wasn’t the fastest or tallest guy, but he always managed to get open and gain yards after the catch. Someone else needs to step up as the go-to guy. I’m not so sure it will be Johnson, but he has an opportunity. Johnson is a good route-runner with decent speed, but he has yet to really show he can catch the ball consistently in traffic. I think Johnson might lead the team in receiving without actually being the most important receiver, because the guy who should benefit most from Michigan’s dominant running game is speedster Roman Wilson. But Bell caught 62 balls last season, and those chain-moving catches need to go somewhere. I expect Johnson to have a better statistical year and for some of those slot targets to be diverted more toward Johnson and Wilson, along with likely slot starter Tyler Morris.

Prediction: Starting wide receiver; 48 catches for 700 yards and 7 touchdowns

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