Johnson cheering on Lake Orion teammates

One of the state's best high school football players has been on the sidelines all season.

But Lake Orion's Will Johnson still hopes to cheer the Dragons on to a long stay in the playoffs now that the regular-season has been completed.

Lake Orion defeated Clarkston 21-7 Friday to bounce back from a 29-7 loss to Rochester Adams a week ago. The Dragons have had to do without Johnson, their outstanding linebacker-defensive end-offensive tackle since preseason when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament during a four-team scrimmage.

Johnson had already committed to Michigan, along with teammate Roger Allison, and was ready to help the Dragons be a state contender.

"Someone hit my knee," he said. "At the first game, it was hard to not play. I got over it. I'll play again with Michigan sometime."

Doctors told Johnson he'd eventually be back at 100 percent. As much as possible during the regular season, he remained a part of the team.

"I go to practice every day and have been at all the games," he said. "There's definitely room for improvement."

In his junior season, the 6-foot-4, 290 pound Johnson had 11 sacks last year. It's anticipated his best position in college might be defensive line because of his speed, size and strength. But on the offensive side of the ball, he's also considered to be an excellent blocker.

On his decision to play for Michigan, "I left camp on Wednesday night," Johnson said. "Thursday morning, I felt it was the right place for me."

Missing his high school season shouldn't affect his college career, Johnson said.

"It's not going to hurt me since I was going to red-shirt anyhow," he said. ‘I try to lift three times a week. I have physical therapy three times a week."

When he goes to Michigan, Johnson hopes to take advantage of his strengths to make the transition from preps to college.

"I can run to the ball every time very quick," he said. "I'd like to get another 10 to 15 pounds on me I need to get my strength going again. I have to get that back."

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