Sophomore cornerback Will Johnson and sophomore tight end Colston Loveland were among more than a dozen Michigan student-athletes talking to fans outside the Brown Jug Friday night as part of an NIL meet and greet event put on by the Stadium and Main Foundation collective.
Both are sure bet starters for the 2023 season, but question marks still surround Johnson’s availability to be ready for week one as he recovers from offseason knee surgery. He told Maize n Brew he’ll be back to 100 percent soon.
“I’m getting closer. I don’t know exactly what day or when I’ll be fully going, but it’s coming soon,” Johnson said. “I’m just taking it one day at a time to see where I’m at when fall camp comes, and to see where I’m at when the first game comes.”
Johnson also showed confidence he’ll be ready to go against East Carolina.
“My goal is to be game one, be 100 percent and feel like I can lock down any receiver, so I just got to get back to that feeling and get there as soon as I can,” Johnson said.
The knee scope recovery is the only thing holding Johnson back from starting week one, and it’s still unclear who will be starting on the other side. He provided an idea of who he sees as top contenders to pair with him in Michigan’s secondary.
“There’s a few people. Josh [Wallace], Amorion [Walker], Keshaun [Harris], some of the freshmen — you never know. We’ll just have to see how fall camp goes,” he said.
On the other side of the ball, Loveland gave some insights into how the tight end room is shaping up this offseason.
“As a unit I think we’re stacked, we’re just inclining. Keep getting better. Like you said, we lost some key pieces, but the new guys came in and they fit right in. [AJ] Barner and all the young guys came in and they knew what it was about and they fit right into it,” Loveland said.
The Wolverines’ identity on how they use tight ends in the run game has been evident under head coach Jim Harbaugh, but Loveland will look to be the most impactful through the air out of anyone in the group. Loveland is using the offseason to sharpen his all-around game.
“I’ve tried to develop my game as a whole. In the run game, obviously, getting in and out of my breaks, releases. Working on my top speed and getting my strength in-line. All aspects,” he said.
The Stadium and Main Foundation brought Loveland and Johnson out to the Ann Arbor Art Fair to help raise awareness for organ and bone marrow donations through the University of Michigan Transplant Center and Wolverines for Life.
More Wolverine student-athletes are scheduled to be at the same location outside the Brown Jug between noon and 3 p.m. on Saturday.