Michigan football welcomes 14 newcomers, including 5-star Will Johnson, who enroll early

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Michigan football signee Derrick Moore, recently named most valuable player of the Under Armour Next All-America game, is among a large group of incoming freshmen who have enrolled early.

Classes at Michigan begin Wednesday, and there are 14 Michigan newcomers in the university directory, which indicates they have enrolled. That group also includes graduate-transfer center Olu Oluwatimi, a Rimington Trophy finalist as the nation’s best center last season at Virginia. They all will be available to participate in winter conditioning and spring practice.

Will Johnson, a five-star defensive back from Grosse Pointe South, is one of 14 early enrollees for Michigan.

The headliner of the class is five-star cornerback Will Johnson from Grosse Pointe South and the son of Deon Johnson who played at Michigan in the early 1990s. Michigan signed 22 players during the early national signing period last month, and the class ranked No. 9 nationally and No. 3 in the Big Ten by 247Sports Composite.

Johnson also participated in the Under Armour game in Orlando and had two tackles. Safety Keon Sabb and receiver Amorion Walker also played and have enrolled early at Michigan. Johnson and four stars Moore and Sabb are Michigan’s highest-rated recruits in the 2022 class.

The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Moore, a defensive lineman out of Baltimore St. Frances Academy, is ranked 79th nationally by 247Sports. He was named MVP of the Under Armour game after his two-sack performance.

Moore originally was committed to Lincoln Riley and Oklahoma, but when Riley left for USC, Moore made a visit to Michigan and eventually committed. There will be a void at Michigan with edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson headed to the NFL and, more than likely, David Ojabo, as well, which means Moore could get a shot at early playing time. Hutchinson and Ojabo combined for 25 sacks this season, and Hutchinson set a single-season program record with 14.

“He walks through the door and he more than belongs, that he does, like he’s a junior, like he’s a senior in college already,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said of Moore last month on the “In the Trenches” podcast with host Jon Jansen. “Great physical gifts, also 3.0 (grade-point average) student. Heckuva good kid. We were fortunate. That was a great get that we got right there at the end. Couldn’t be happier.”

Michigan’s class includes quarterbacks Alex Orji and Jayden Denegal, who both enrolled early. Orji's mother, Mariam, shared Monday on Twitter photos of her son in his Michigan dorm.

Connor Jones, a 6-7, 285-pound offensive lineman, posted Jan. 1 on Twitter indicating his arrival at UM, referring to his "new home."

The class went heavy on defensive backs, led by Johnson.

“Everything you want in a corner in terms of length and movement skills, traits,” Harbaugh said on the podcast, referring to Johnson. “He’s a 99.00 five-star, and he’s an even better guy. I can’t tell you how much he’s meant to us and this recruiting class. Everybody in the class wants to room with Will. Just a great guy. Will Johnson’s really been the anchor to this entire class.”

Another early enrollee who could see the field this fall is tight end Colston Loveland, a 6-5, 230-pound four-star recruit.

“He’s gonna come right in and looks like he belongs (with) the juniors on the team and the seniors,” Harbaugh told Jansen on the podcast. “You can easily see in the frame that he’s going to be rocked up 256, 260-type of guy that will run really, really well.”

Early enrollees

Here's the list of Michigan early enrollees (their names appear in Michigan directory):

► Darrius Clemons 6-3, 205  WR

► Jayden Denegal  6-4, 215, QB

► Mason Graham 6-4, 295, DL

► Will Johnson  6-3, 190, CB

► Connor Jones 6-7, 285, OL

► Kody Jones 5-11, 175, S

► Colston Loveland 6-5, 230, TE

► Derrick Moore, 6-4, 250 DL

► Tyler Morris 6-0, 175 WR

► Olu Oluwatimi, 6-3, 310, OL*

► Alex Orji 6-2, 226, QB

► Myles Pollard 6-2, 185, CB

► Keon Sabb  6-2, 200, S

► Amorion Walker 6-4, 175, WR

*graduate transfer


Twitter: @chengelis