Former Pinnacle QB JD Johnson loves playing the unexpected in Michigan football.
PHOENIX — Before starting his new life, quarterback JD Johnson enjoyed a prolific high school football career with the Pinnacle Pioneers.
So much so that Johnson received multiple Level 1 offers, including a scholarship from the University of Michigan. But it was during his physical with the Wolverines that he discovered he had a heart defect, which forced him to withdraw from football for medical reasons.
“I lost my entire identity,” Johnson said. “My whole identity is football and me and my family are mourning it, it’s almost like a loss.”
“It was a difficult time to deal with,” Johnson said.
But he did not give up his football career. Instead, it opened a door of opportunity in a path he never expected.
“It’s crazy that God has a different plan for you than you think,” Johnson said.
Johnson initially joined the team as a student assistant before his responsibilities increased overtime as part of the Wolverines’ coaching tree. A coaching position where he can constantly absorb the highest level of knowledge.
“From day one, learning from some fantastic coaches and Coach Jim Harbaugh has been absolutely incredible,” Johnson added. “I hope to one day become a head coach like Harbaugh and fly higher in the coaching world.”
This comes as Johnson attempts to recover from retirement after a prominent cardiologist confirmed he is fit enough to play again. Johnson did join the transfer portal but was unable to gain enough traction to join a new team, although he sees it as a blessing in disguise.
“I tried to go that route, but it didn’t work out in the end,” Johnson said. “I’m not that upset about it. I’m obviously happy to play, but I’m happy where I am” I’m happy to continue my coaching career. “
An unexpected coaching career for Johnson, but a pleasure to be a part of, thanks to his new perspective on life.
“I was able to turn that mindset around and turn it into a positive role,” Johnson said. “How I had the opportunity to be one of the youngest coaches in college football has been a blessing. I’ve learned to never take anything for granted and live life to the fullest. Being in the moment and really focusing on what’s most important right now.”
Now, that includes bringing back the national title for Ann Arbor.
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