Connecticut has become priority recruiting ground for the Michigan football program since Don Brown was hired last year. In just his first season Constitution State natives Ben Mason, Andrew Stueber, and former Army All-American Tarik Black joined the Maize & Blue fold. During the recent evaluation period, Brown made his way back to Connecticut to mine for more talent and this time uncovered a rising prospect in the 2019 class in Greenwich (Conn.) Brunswick wide receiver Cornelius Johnson. An invitation to camp in Ann Arbor was left with the talented youngster’s coach, and last weekend he happily accepted.
“Originally Coach Brown came to my math class,” said Johnson reflecting upon the first sign of Michigan’s interest. “I flew down (last Friday) and was really excited for the camp. It went well. I got to look around campus. Overall, I’m just really excited. It looks like a great facility. I’m looking forward to looking around more. “
After a standout performance where he established himself as one of the fastest campers in attendance and showed great fluidity and ball skills in drills, Michigan’s coaches appear equally eager about finding out more about Johnson. Among the things that they’ve already discovered is a connection that could provide a major assist in their courtship.
“My mom actually went to med school here at Michigan,” Johnson reported. “So she was excited to fly down (last Saturday). She grew up in Detroit.”
“I always had my eye on (Michigan), just as school my mom went to. She takes pride in that. Overall, it’s a great academic school and obviously, their football program is outstanding. So taking those two into account you have to check it out.”
Another reason the check it out is the presence of a former adversary on the field, but friend off it in Tarik Black.
“We actually played him in the bowl game at CheshirAcademymy in Connecticut,” said Johnson. “It’s fun to see him around here with what he has done and the hard work he has put in. To be on this field now is great to see.”
“It’s very inspirational just to see him come through Connecticut and go through the recruiting process just like I am, and then eventually take his talent to a big school like this. It definitely is inspiring and gives you motivation to do it yourself.”
Having a familiar face like Black’s in Ann Arbor and family in Detroit may prove to be additional feathers in Michigan’s cap down the line. That said, distance from home is not expected to be a major factor in Johnson’s decision. His older brother accepted a scholarship to play football at San Diego, and his next recruiting stop took him and his dad out to Stanford. Both mom and dad have emphasized that there are more important factors than proximity to home.
“The academics and the football program, “said Johnson. “If you take away football, you’re settled there, and you know it’s a great school for you even without being an athlete, then you know that is a place you definitely want to go.”
His initial impression of Michigan suggests it would likely be among the schools that fit that criteria. At this point, though, Johnson claims no favorites and is patiently waiting to see if/when the Wolverines will join Boston College and Duke on his early offer list. Based on his chat with Jim Harbaugh & company after camp, there appears to be reason for optimism on that front.
“These coaches seem very interested in me so far,” said Johnson. “It was great to meet coaches. It was great to meet the coaching staff. They seem like a great group of people. They’re just god people to be around.”