ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan running back Drake Johnson has been slowly eased back into game-action over the course of this season after coming back from a torn ACL suffered a season ago.
Despite claiming he has been ready to play since fall camp, the medical and coaching staff has been easing him into contact to avoid another significant knee injury due to playing prematurely.
U-M running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley says Johnson has done everything he has been asked to do. Now, all that is left is clearance for him to be let loose.
"I'm not a doctor and not Drake's knee so I don't know," Wheatley said. "Right now he looks good though, he looks good. He's doing well, all things we've asked him to do up until this point he's passed with flying colors. Up until now, I would say he looks good."
If there were any questions about Johnson's athleticism or being more tentative after two ACL injuries, Wheatley didn't see any. He was quick to compliment his running back.
"Did you see him in the game? He was jumping over people," Wheatley said. "There's no tentativeness in Drake Johnson, none whatsoever. He's that guy you've had to hold back and just say 'hey, wait a minute.' In practice he was ready to go and you just say 'hey, the doctors have a date for you, let's go with that date.' But no tentativeness with Drake, none."
At the end of the day, Wheatley is happy to see Johnson being close to getting a full workload if he so chooses. There's no doubt in Wheatley's mind that he is ready to go.
"It's good to see him out there running," Wheatley said. "Good to see him without any apprehension, anything that's holding him back. Drake's full-go, he's ready to go. In his mind two weeks ago he was ready to go. He's ready."