Michigan running back Drake Johnson, a redshirt freshman who earned a surprising spot on the Wolverines' two-deep, tore his ACL in the season opener against Central Michigan and will miss the remainder of the season.
The team's official Twitter account confirmed the news:
RB Drake Johnson will miss the remainder of the 2013 season with a torn ACL.— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) September 2, 2013
On Michigan's post-camp depth chart, Johnson was listed as the primary backup behind starter Fitz Toussaint. Despite receiving just three stars on the 247Sports composite two years ago, he beat out Justice Hayes, Thomas Rawls and blue-chip freshman Derrick Green for that role.
Johnson carried the ball twice for nine yards against the Chippewas, but he was injured covering a kickoff in the second half. According to Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com, he "stayed on the field for several minutes before being helped off with what Michigan's radio broadcast team referred to as a left knee sprain."
The injury thins Michigan's depth at the position, but it shouldn't be monumental. The Wolverines have a deep core of potential ball-carriers, highlighted by the aforementioned Green, who led the team with 58 yards on 11 carries in Week 1.
He didn't get his first touch until the third quarter, though, when Michigan already led by 36 points. Wolverine fans are itching to see Green play—he was their best Class of 2013 recruit—but after a sluggish fall camp, one good garbage-time performance should not be overblown.
Maybe Green can, in fact, become an elite freshman backup to Toussaint. According to Baumgardner, he's already moved up to No. 2 on the depth chart. But even if Green excels, there's a reason Johnson was listed ahead of him in camp—he was deemed more ready to contribute this year.
His loss is still an unfortunate one.