Michigan WR Cornelius Johnson announces NFL decision

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan wide receiver Cornelius Johnson, who led the team with six receiving touchdowns in 2022, will return to the Wolverines in 2023, he announced Sunday night.

“After considering great opportunities, I have decided to stay with the University of Michigan football team for the 2023 season. I am excited to get back on Main Street with the crew,” he wrote on an Instagram post.

Johnson, a senior in 2022, has played meaningful snaps since he was a freshman in 2019. He has one year of eligibility remaining due to his participation in the 2020 season.

A former four-star prospect from Brunswick (Conn.) School, Johnson has appeared in 45 games for the Wolverines with 30 starts. He led the team with 39 receptions, 620 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns in 2021, generating high expectations for 2022.

While Ronnie Bell’s return from injury and Michigan’s run-first offense limited his season stat line, Johnson contributed some of the biggest plays of the year. His two long touchdowns and a career-high 160 receiving yards against Ohio State helped lead the Wolverines to a road upset over their arch-rival.

“We just had to win The Game,” Johnson told The Michigan Insider when asked what he considers the highlight of the 2022 season. “Wow had to win the game. That’s all I was thinking about the whole time. Not specific plays. Even just seeing our defense close the deal.”

The two touchdown receptions against the Buckeyes — of 69 and 75 yards — were the harbinger of an explosive day for the UM offense.

“We knew that we could make those kinds of plays,” Jim Harbaugh said after the Ohio State game. “CJ really got us started — Cornelius Johnson — with the catch and then broke the tackle, [69] yards. I think the very next time we came back, if I’m not mistaken, one play, 75-yard touchdown.”

Johnson finished 2022 with 32 receptions for 499 yards and six touchdowns, including a multi-score game at Indiana in addition to the one in Columbus. He recorded a catch in all but one game this year.

In addition to his successes on the football field, Johnson is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree (2020, ’21, ’22).

Michigan’s receiving corps figures to look different in 2023 following the departure of Ronnie Bell, a captain who was the team’s leading receiver in three of his four healthy seasons. Roman Wilson figures to return next fall, and UM has high hopes for the rising sophomore trio of Tyler Morris, Darrius Clemons and Amorion Walker. Rising sophomore TE Colston Loveland should also feature heavily in the pass game next fall.

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