Prominent Michigan football defender could play offense in 2024

Michigan Football Spring Game
Michigan Football Spring Game / Jaime Crawford/GettyImages

Michigan football coach Sherrone Moore vocalized the possibility of star defensive back Will Johnson being utilized on the offensive side of the ball in 2024.

Moore took over the head coaching duties after former Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh returned to the NFL to coach the Los Angeles Chargers.

As the Wolverines gear up to defend its national title, Michigan lost key players on both sides of the ball to the NFL draft (13 players, school record), especially on the offensive side. Former Michigan players such as quarterback J.J McCarthy, running back Blake Corum, wide receiver Roman Wilson, and offensive lineman Zak Zinter were all drafted after helping the Wolverines secure its first national title since 1997.

Johnson, however, is arguably one of the best defensive players in the country.

The 6-foot-2 cornerback was a five-star recruit before joining the Wolverines in 2022. Johnson earned All-American honors in 2022 and followed up with a first-team All-Big Ten nod in 2023. Additionally, Johnson earned the defensive player of the game honors in the 2024 national title game. The star cornerback tallied a crucial interception from former Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. to help the Wolverines contain their lead to start the second half of the championship game.

Furthermore, Pro Football Focus currently ranks Johnson as the No. 1 cornerback ahead of the 2024 campaign. However, could the former five-star recruit aid the Michigan offense?

Johnson played on both sides of the ball at Grosse Pointe South High School in Detroit, Mich., as a wideout and a defensive back. As a senior, Johnson tallied 1,302 all-purpose yards (rusher, receiver, and punt returner) and was used as a special teams asset.

The Michigan native possesses all the tools to be effective on both sides of the ball, similar to Colorado two-way star Travis Hunter. Johnson's services on defense will be met, but if Moore needs the first-team All-Big Ten cornerback to help the offense move the sticks, Johnson has the tools to fulfill the request.