One more sleep before the first game of Michigan’s 2023 season, but we still have a few final players to cover for our outlook series. Quinten Johnson has consistently been a contributor on special teams during his time at Michigan, but now he’s looking to take the next step and become a key member of the secondary
Let’s break down Johnson’s path to Michigan and his outlook for 2023.
The story so far
Johnson committed to Michigan in July 2018 before enrolling in 2019 over schools like Alabama, Penn State and North Carolina. Johnson redshirted his first year in Ann Arbor and saw action in two games his sophomore year, both on special teams. In 2021, as a junior, Johnson appeared in all 14 games, all on special teams.
In 2022, Johnson finally got his opportunity to play in the secondary, playing in all 14 games including eight at safety. Johnson made 11 tackles with one tackle for loss last year.
Outlook for 2023
Coming into the season, it looked like Johnson would slot into a rotation role at safety. But with Rod Moore and Makari Paige potentially missing the season opener, Johnson looks to be in line to, if not start, get significant time at safety on Saturday.
On the Inside Michigan Football radio show this week, Harbaugh said Johnson is a “starter-caliber player.” While Moore and Paige’s injuries don’t seem to be severe, Johnson has an opportunity in front of him to show what he’s capable of.
“Last year definitely was by far the most time I’ve ever really seen,” Johnson told the Michigan Insider. “I got a little taste. It was good for me being able to get my feet wet to really learn and develop as a player. This year feels like that natural progression to go from starting to really develop to actually going out there and performing.”
With top recruits Zeke Berry and Keon Sabb also fighting their way up the depth chart, Johnson will need to keep performing at a high level in order to continue to earn playing time. But his more extensive game experience also separates him from those two players, who red-shirted last year.