HOUSTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 8: Michigan Wolverines defensive back Will Johnson, left, is seen after defeating Washington 34-13 during the national championship NCAA College Football Playoff game at NRG Stadium, Monday, Jan. 8, 2024, in Houston.
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Michigan's Playoff Defensive MVP Is Coming Back For 2024

Michigan easily won the college football national championship Monday, downing the Washington Huskies 34-13 and leading to Wolverines defensive back Will Johnson winning the College Football Playoff Defensive MVP.

Johnson is in just his second year of college football, joining the Wolverines in 2022. He's allowed 46 receptions on 89 targets for 636 yards and just two touchdowns in his career. This season, Johnson allowed just 18 receptions on 39 targets for 283 yards and no touchdowns.

He was incredibly stout in the College Football Playoff, allowing no catches by the Alabama Crimson Tide, and three catches on seven targets for 27 yards and an interception against the Huskies.

Johnson's interception came in the second half, which cemented a shift in momentum that led to a crushing Wolverines victory. 

"This man, Will Johnson, talked at halftime we've got to get this momentum back," Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh said. "And darned if we don't get it back the first play of the second half. Pull it down. That was phenomenal."

Listed at 6-foot-2 and 202 pounds, Johnson is still a year away from being NFL Draft-eligible. But he is safely viewed as a top prospect already for the 2025 NFL Draft. 

Johnson is the son of Deon Johnson, who played for the Wolverines from 1990 to 1994, when they won two Big Ten championships and the 1993 Rose Bowl. 

Incredibly, that Rose Bowl also featured the Wolverines and Huskies. And the Wolverines won that contest as well, 38-31. 

"It's amazing [to follow my father's lead]. Hugging him after the game. All those long days and hard nights. We'd beef with each other just because I was young and didn't want to work, but he pushed me," Will Johnson told Fox Sports. "It's the reason I came [to Michigan], for this moment right here."

Johnson's task in the national championship game was to go up against Huskies superstar wide receiver Rome Odunze. 

Against Odunze, Johnson allowed two receptions on four targets for 24 yards.

"I can't wait to put in this work next year," he told Fox Sports, "and prove to everybody what I can be."

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