Drake Johnson brings playing career to a close
Written by Matt Pargoff   


Drake Johnson was consistently upbeat when talking about the multitude of injuries he was forced to overcome throughout his career, but the veteran running back’s time on the field has finally come to an end.

In early February, Jim Harbaugh expressed optimism that Johnson would be successful in pursuing a sixth year of eligibility, but revealed to reporters on Monday that such a return would not happen

“He’s not going to continue in football,” Harbaugh said. “Doesn’t think he’s able to, just medically, emotionally. Just hasn’t been able to do it at the level it needs to be done, in his opinion. He’s not going to participate in football going forward.”

As a redshirt freshman in 2013, Johnson tore his ACL in the season opener while working on special teams. He returned the following season, eventually working his way into a featured back role. With nearly half his career production coming in a four game stretch at the end of 2015, he was once again dealt a major setback when he tore his ACL a second time while scoring a touchdown during the Ohio State game.

Playing sparingly during the 2015 season, he suffered a major setback the following summer when he was run over by a forklift in the track building. He initially attempted to make a return from that, but suffered additional injuries in fall camp and did not play in 2016.

Johnson finished his career with 641 yards on 116 carries, scoring eight touchdowns.

The Wolverines return sophomore Chris Evans, redshirt sophomore Karan Higdon and fifth-year senior Ty Isaac from among their contributing running backs last year, while redshirt freshman Kareem Walker and true freshmen Kurt Taylor and O'Maury Samuels will also look to get involved in the mix.


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