Michigan has two big receivers committed in its 2016 class in Brad Hawkins and Ahmir Mitchell, and the Wolverines just added what should be the perfect complement to their skill sets with speedy Tennessee native Nate Johnson.
Johnson committed to the Wolverines on Saturday during his official visit to Ann Arbor.
Johnson caught 62 passes for 1,290 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior for Independence High School in Thompson's Station. Despite that production, he received only a handful of FCS offers early in the process. Division I attention trickled in along with a few offers, and after good camp performances in the spring, he found himself with a Purdue offer, and he committed to the Boilermakers.
More camps, more dazzling displays of route-running and ball skills led to more offers during the summer and Johnson decommitted from Purdue.
Still considered under-offered by those who saw him play, Johnson left no doubt of his abilities as a senior. He caught 87 passes for 1,713 yards and 27 touchdowns for an undefeated state championship winning team. He was a finalist for Tennessee's Mr. Football, an award many felt he deserved. In-state Tennessee finally offered, so did Penn State, South Carolina and a host of others.
Michigan did as well, and despite visiting only two days after he received the Wolverine offer, he knew he had found his future home.
The Wolverines jumped in late and quickly added a player whose career continues to head on an upward trajectory, according to Scout's Southeast analyst Chad Simmons.
"Obviously, he's had great production," Simmons said. "He took his team to the state championship game and got a chance to play late into the season on a bigger stage against better competition and he produced. His play speaks for itself. He's athletic, very fluid, makes play after play, has great body control and acceleration when he gets the ball and out of his cuts. He's a natural receiver who's risen up the charts and could rise more before it's all said and done."
With Mitchell and Hawkins in the fold as bigger, outside threats, Johnson projects as a slot at this time.
"I think he'd fit perfectly there," Simmons said. "He'd be good on jet sweeps, tunnel screens, quick hitches where you can get him in space. He's thin and rangy right now, so it would be better playing inside instead of having big defensive backs playing right on top of him playing press coverage. Those underneath routes are where he can run away from someone. Get him one-on-one in space and that's a good role for him with his speed and agility."
Johnson is the 22nd commitment for Michigan in the 2016 class.
Junior receiver commits to Michigan
Covington (Ga.) Newton wide receiver Jeremiah Holloman was offered on Saturday when he visited with teammate and Michigan running back commit Kurt Taylor, and Holloman wasted no time accepting the Wolverines' offer.
"I told (Coach Jim Harbaugh) that I wouldn't want to be anywhere else," Holloman told The Michigan Insider's Brice Marich, "and I love the atmosphere at Michigan, love the coaching staff, and from what I see we have a lot of success coming our way. I want to be a part of that. It feels great to be committed and the support is already coming in."
Hollomon caught 32 passes for 632 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior.
Wolverines extend new offer at TE
Still looking to add another tight end in the 2016 class, Michigan offered Nixa (Mo.) product Chase Allen on Monday night. Allen (6-foot-7, 220 pounds) has been a fast riser this year. He has additional offers from Minnesota, who he recently took an official visit with, Ilinois, Indiana, Iowa State and many others, with most of those offers coming during the fall.
Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.