Ricky Johnson, Wolverine

Tag: 2024 recruiting


18May 2024
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Ricky Johnson, Wolverine

Ricky Johnson (image via UNLV Athletics)

UNLV transfer Ricky Johnson has committed to Michigan after a midweek visit. He was previously committed to Washington State.

Johnson is a 6’1″, 180 lb. player who is entering his fifth year of college football. Originally out of Houston (TX) Cypress Falls in the class of 2020, he played in four games that first year that didn’t count against his eligibility. He also suffered an injury in 2022 that limited him to three games, meaning he would get an injury redshirt for that season. So he has only used up two years of eligibility and should have two remaining for the 2024 and 2025 seasons if he wishes to use both.

Johnson was ranked as a 3-star, the #151 safety, and #1951 overall in 2020 and has been a starter for UNLV since his second year on campus, but injuries have limited his time on the field. Altogether, he has played in 27 games, making 78 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions, and 10 pass breakups. He did not play in the 2023 game against Michigan due to injury.

Johnson and fellow transfer portal commitment Aamir Hall give Michigan a couple good options to fight for playing time across from Will Johnson. Johnson has a ton of impressive plays on his highlight reel, but his PFF grades are mediocre; he grades out better as a run defender and tackler than in pass coverage. He appears to be more of a third or fourth corner, and I would not expect him to start this fall.

Here are some clips of his time at UNLV:

Here are some highlights from his high school days:

17May 2024
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Wesley Walker, Wolverine

Wesley Walker (image via Emma Corona/Tennessee Athletics)

Former Georgia Tech, Tennessee, and Louisville safety Wesley Walker has committed to Michigan. He picked Michigan over LSU and USC.

Walker has started 25 games in his career, which started in 2019 at Georgia Tech, where he played for three seasons. He then transferred to Tennessee for the 2022-2023 seasons, hit the transfer portal in December, committed to Louisville, spent the spring at Louisville, and then re-entered the portal. Altogether, he has made 184 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 interception, and 12 pass breakups while playing in 45 career contests.

Walker was listed at 6’1″ and 200 pounds at Tennessee last season. He started ten games for the Volunteers last year and finished #4 on the team with 53 tackles.

It will be interesting to see where Walker fits into the rotation at safety. Makari Paige returns and is guaranteed a starting spot, while Zeke Berry looks like the top nickel and Quinten Johnson returns, too. Those were the top three safeties prior to Walker’s commitment, so can he unseat any of them? My guess is that Berry will stay at nickel, with Paige, Walker, and Johnson being a three-man rotation at safety, much like Paige, Rod Moore, and Keon Sabb did in 2023.

Overall, Michigan has now landed seven transfer portal players for the 2024 season, including offensive guard Josh Priebe (Northwestern), linebacker Jaishawn Barham (Maryland), kicker Dominic Zvada (Arkansas State), cornerback Aamir Hall (Albany), wide receiver C.J. Charleston (Youngstown State), and wide receiver Amorion Walker (Ole Miss), and now Wesley Walker. It seems like Michigan will still look to add at least one more defensive back, perhaps in the form of Michigan State’s Jaden Mangham. Mangham has two years of eligibility remaining, whereas both Hall and Wesley Walker will be in their final year.

Wesley Walker’s time at Tennessee coincided with current linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary, and Walker is also from Nashville (TN) Ensworth originally, which is the home of 2024 signee Mason Curtis.

16May 2024
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Aamir Hall, Wolverine

Aamir Hall

Albany transfer cornerback Aamir Hall committed to Michigan this evening after taking a visit to Ann Arbor on Wednesday.

Hall is a 6’1″, 201 lb. corner with one year of eligibility remaining. Originally a signee for FCS Richmond, he spent the 2021 and 2022 seasons playing for the Spiders. He then transferred to Albany in 2023, where he was an FCS All-American, totaling 63 tackles, 5 interceptions, and 15 total passes defended.

After watching some highlights of him playing at Albany this past fall, I think Hall may have a better shot at playing corner than I originally believed. I mentioned in an earlier article that he might be more of a nickel – which was based on going back to watch his high school highlights – but there has been some development since then. He’s a good-sized, physical corner who’s not afraid to come up and support the run, and he has some nice instincts and ball skills. He plays through the hands of receivers, and he makes some nice adjustments to go up and get the ball, get low to dig out short throws, etc.

Overall, Michigan has found themselves a good addition to the cornerback room to compete with Jyaire Hill for that second corner spot, or perhaps help at nickel with Zeke Berry or Ja’Den McBurrows. Hall doesn’t have the greatest speed, but if he did . . . he probably wouldn’t be available at this point, and he wouldn’t be coming from Albany. Hill probably has higher upside in the long run because he’s a better athlete, but Hall is probably a good approximation of Josh Wallace – someone who’s capable in pass coverage and who won’t be taken advantage of physically.

Albany somewhat famously produced defensive end Jared Verse, who turned out to be a standout player for Florida State before becoming a 1st round draft pick last month. However, Albany has only produced one NFL draft pick, and that was 6th round safety Rashad Barksdale back in 2007.

Michigan is still looking at trying to land more defensive backs from the portal, including Michigan State safety Jaden Mangham, Sacramento State safety Cameron Broussard, and Louisville safety Wesley Walker, among others.

16May 2024
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Visitors: May 17-19, 2024

Jaden Mangham (image via Michigan State)

TRANSFER PORTAL

Aamir Hall – CB – Albany: Hall is a product of Baltimore (MD) Mount Saint Joseph’s who originally went to Richmond out of high school, where he played two seasons, making 88 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 16 pass breakups. After transferring to Albany in 2023, he notched 63 tackles, 5 interceptions, and 15 total pass breakups. At 6’1″ and 201 pounds, he’s probably more of a nickel than a true cornerback.

Jaden Mangham – S – Michigan State: Mangham was a 4-star, the #13 athlete, and #311 overall in the class of 2022. Trying to escape the dysfunction in East Lansing, he’s visiting Michigan this weekend to potentially fill the hole(s) left by Rod Moore’s injury and the departure of Keon Sabb to Alabama. Listed at 6’2″ and 185 pounds, he has started twelve games during his two seasons wearing green and white. He has 73 tackles and 4 interceptions during his college career and was named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten in 2022. Michigan did offer him coming out of Franklin (MI) Groves – also the home of recent Michigan commit Avery Gach for the class of 2025 – but both sides cooled a little bit throughout the recruiting process.

Wesley Walker – S – Louisville: Walker actually visited last week, but I did not include him in last week’s visitor list. He started his college career at Georgia Tech, transferred to Tennessee, entered the transfer portal in December, committed to Ole Miss, flipped to Louisville, and spent spring ball with Louisville. Then he entered the portal again. Originally, he was a 3-star, the #58 cornerback, and #572 overall in the class of 2019. Overall, he started 25 games and made 184 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 interception, and 12 pass breakups throughout his career.

7May 2024
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Visitors: May 10-12, 2024

Cameron Broussard (image via Sacramento State)

TRANSFER PORTAL

Cameron Broussard – S – Sacramento State: Broussard is a 6’3″, 200 lb. safety from Sacramento State, an FCS program in California. Originally out of Folsom (CA) Folsom, Broussard was a 247 Sports 3-star and the #137 athlete in the class of 2020. His first season was canceled due to COVID but he has played the past three seasons, so he has one year of eligibility remaining. As a starting free safety in 2023, he made 73 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 5 pass breakups while being named First Team All-Big Sky.

Jay’viar Suggs – DT – Grand Valley State: Suggs is a 6’3″, 282-pounder from in-state GVSU. He attended Clarkston (MI) Clarkston and did not have any FBS offers coming out of high school in 2019. He made 21 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, and 5 sacks this past season. He has named a top six of Arkansas, Florida State, Kentucky, Michigan, USC, and Wisconsin.