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Daily Brews: Will Johnson makes PFF’s top-50 players list

Will Johnson could fill a book with all of his preseason watchlists.

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Syndication: Journal-Courier Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

If we had a nickel for every instance where a Michigan football player was added to a watch list or received some kind of preseason accolade, we would be millionaires. The buzz surrounding former five-star cornerback Will Johnson is at an all-time high, as he continues to own the eyeballs of notable media outlets and analysts.

This includes Pro Football Focus, which on Wednesday dubbed the sophomore as one of the “top-50 players in college football,” per the aggregate’s annual rankings of the same name.

Johnson is certainly no stranger to the expectations at this point. The Detroit native has been lauded by watch list experts everywhere, including those at On3, 247Sports, the Lott IMPACT Trophy, college football expert Phil Steele, as well as many others.

And what’s not to like? Steve Clinkscale’s prized pupil provided some major juice down the stretch for the Wolverines in some of their biggest games. With all the buzz surrounding the star defensive back, the average follower of the program might wonder what that’s doing to the psyche of Johnson.

On a recent episode of Jon Jansen’s “In the Trenches” podcast, defensive backs coach Steve Clinkscale gave a glowing review of how the former five-star is handling the hype:

“Will will tell you he can improve in every phase,” Clinkscale said. “He never forgets. Anytime he’s been beat, whether it’s practice, whether it’s in walk-through, whether it’s in the game. So he never feels like he’s even close to accomplishing what he wants to.”

If I’m a Michigan fan, Clink’s words are music to my ears', considering Johnson is still young with plenty of room to grow.

Clink also detailed Johnson’s work ethic, as well as specific things he is doing to sharpen his game.

“He wants to be a dominant player every snap. I think we can continue to build on his ability to affect the quarterback more as a blitzer, because he’s a really good blitzer. Also can, his main game, we can leave him on his own a little bit. But he’s a great zone coverage guy, does a great job in all our zones in keeping good eyes, and he’s got very good instincts.”

Time will tell what the 2023 season holds for Johnson, but here’s to hoping he can continue to build upon the momentum he’s already laid for himself.