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Scouting Report: 4-star WR Cornelius Johnson

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Michigan gets one of the biggest needs of the class: A big bodied wide receiver.

NCAA Football: Maryland at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

In case you’ve been distracted by 5-star safety Daxton Hill recommitting to Michigan, which is understandable, the staff also picked up a commitment from 4-star wide receiver Cornelius Johnson.

Johnson is the No. 1 ranked player in Connecticut and the Gatorade Player of the Year for his state. At 6-foot-3, he’s the big outside receiver Michigan needed badly in this class.

His senior film can be found HERE.

Johnson uses his tall frame well as a receiver, getting good leverage and using every inch to stretch for balls when he has to.

Here’s the first play of Johnson’s tape. He’s being grabbed by the defender, but uses his superior size and speed to just lean on him as he gets upfield, eventually creating separation and breaking open for the touchdown. In addition, his balance allows him to not lose stride as he bumps into the defensive back.

His excellent body control here allows him to go down low, reach far to grab the ball while keeping his foot down inbound.

Even in this awkward position, Johnson uses great ball-catching technique, extending his hands away from his body and plucking the ball from the air.

The play above also shows Johnson’s sharp cuts and ability to turn back for the ball. This shows up a lot on the back end of his film. He runs quite a few routes for a high schooler, including fades, slants, digs and outs. But he really likes the comeback.

Johnson excels at chopping his feet and changing direction quickly to create separation. This stop-and-start ability gives him a big cushion to catch the ball. And since these routes are usually run by the sidelines, his body control allows him to navigate in small windows.

This cut ability doesn’t just happen on comebacks, he uses it in his other routes, as well. Here, he uses a sharp cut on a dig to get wide open across the middle of the field.

Johnson’s body control, route running and footwork make him advanced for this stage of his career. He’s great at creating separation and corralling tough balls to catch. I envision him in the role Nico Collins plays in Michigan’s offense.

Johnson will find a crowded wide receiver room when he gets on campus, but it’s possible Michigan loses two of Donovan Peoples-Jones, Nico Collins and Tarik Black after the 2019 season. Given that, I think he’ll see the field as a freshman to give him some valuable reps.

As a sophomore, Johnson should be competing for a starting spot with the others left from the class of 2017, along with Ronnie Bell and 2019 classmate Quintel Kent.