Name: Drake Johnson
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Ratings: ESPN – 2* (72), Scout – 2*, 247 Sports - NR*
Recruitment: As you'll see from his offers list below, this wasn't a big recruiting battle. Basically Johnson woke up one morning and discovered that Michigan had offered him, and with the Wolverines being his dream school, he committed instantly. Easy as that.
Offers: Michigan, Eastern Michigan.
Stats: Currently stands at 6’1 and around 205lbs, with a no reported 40 yard dash time. However he is a very successful track athlete and has set numerous records in that field, so we can assume he's fast, and at 200lbs, that's a very good sign. So far as a senior he's amassed 2757 yards and 37TDs according to one of our blog commenters!
ESPN Analysis: Johnson has the size and athleticism for the running back position at the major level of competition; it appears his frame is capable of handling additional bulk over time. Can run inside and out, possessing the ability to break tackles in the open field.
Has quick feet which combined with his good vision allow him to hit the holes fairly swiftly. Also has good hands and can be a threat out of the backfield as a receiver; does his best work on the outside in open space.
He's an under the radar prospect with the size and speed combination to warrant further evaluations later in the year; his current level of competition might be a cause for concern.
Improvements: It's an outrageously positive review for someone with a rating of 72; I guess his low ratings reflect the fact that he didn't show up to many camps/combines.
Film Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoNlxe8HgLc
Final Thoughts: As with all Michigan commits who join the fold with bad ratings, we pass them off as sleeper prospects who will eventually turn into great discoveries! With Johnson's combination of size and speed, there's no reason to believe he isn't a true sleeper prospect who could develop into a real football talent.
Playing time will be hard to come by for him early on, but apparently he's good at returning kicks and punts, so he could see the field that way. Rawls, Hayes and others will occupy the backfield for at least a couple years before Johnson challenges for a starting role.
Overall I'm generally always happy with a commitment, especially such an athletic one as this. However, not all evaluations of Johnson will be that good, after all there must be a reason why only UM and EMU thought him to be worthy of an offer. Is he a track star playing football? Or the other way round, only time will tell.
Michigan wanted a running back in this class, and this should be him. With only two theoretical spaces left in this class, I don't think Michigan should be looking at another RB. A WR and a DB/OL should be what rounds out the class. This of course means that there would be no place for Brionte Dunn; the only way he gets in this class is if Michigan has more departures and thus more spaces available.
While we're on the subject of Dunn, my optimism on his recruitment has died down dramatically after the recent surge of OSU. The Buckeyes are winning games again, and that can't hurt their chances with Dunn. He visited the Buckeyes for their game against Wisky and had a great time, and he still hasn't visited Michigan officially yet.