Zac Johnson a walk-on with U of M football 8.8

Written by David Green.

He’s in; he made the cut.

There’s going to be a familiar face on the sidelines at the University of Michigan’s home football games this season after recent Morenci graduate Zac Johnson learned he’s a member of the Wolverine squad.

Johnson began practicing this week as a preferred walk-on and wearing his number 19 for media day photos. As long as he maintains his position in the top 105 members of the team, he should be dressing for home games.

A good showing at the Wolverine summer camp for high school players helped pave the way. Johnson produced one of the fastest 40-yard sprint times at camp.

He’s also had the help of Morenci Superintendent of Schools Kyle Griffith in making connections with the coaching staff.

“Mr. Griffith and I have been talking with [UM offensive coordinator] Mike DeBord since my sophomore year,” Johnson said.

They’ve also kept close connections with Adrian native Brad Labadie who serves as Director of Football Operations for UM and coordinates recruiting efforts for this area of Michigan.

Johnson and his father, Eric, attended UM’s spring practice. That’s when Johnson had his first opportunity to speak with head coach Lloyd Carr.

Johnson says he’s quite certain he will be red-shirted this season, leaving four more years of eligibility. That will work out fine, because he expects to spend five years at school earning an engineering degree.

The Wolverine coaching staff is considering Johnson as a defensive back/wide receiver prospect.

“I’m hoping to play safety,” he said.


  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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