Michigan football QB commit JD Johnson (heart condition) must retire, but scholarship still honored

Photo: Billy Hardiman/Special for The Republic

Michigan football quarterback 2020 commit JD Johnson announced Wednesday that he is medically retiring from football.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Johnson — a three-star prospect from Phoenix, Arizona, committed to the Wolverines’ 2020 class — wrote that he was born with a coarctation of his aorta. He received a stent following his diagnosis at age 12 and was due for “an expansion adjustment” to the stent in December.

However, subsequent tests and evaluations have revealed issues that cannot be corrected through surgery.

“I was told that I did not meet the clearance standard to continue playing a contact sport for fear that my aorta could rupture,” Johnson wrote, “or that not enough blood would get to my brain causing an on field stroke.”

Johnson says he’ll no longer play football. But he says he’s still attending Michigan on scholarship, thanks to Jim Harbaugh.

“Coach Harbaugh called after receiving the news of my test results,” Johnson wrote. “Unsure and scared to what the conversation was going to be, Coach, without hesitation, said that my scholarship would be honored and offered me a position to join the Wolverine staff and help anyway I can.

“I am witness to Coach Harbaugh’s character and integrity in a situation where he has every reason to tell me, ‘Good luck with your future.’ He means what he says, and stands behind his commitments, when he could have taken the easy way out. He demonstrated a high level of loyalty to a player that will never throw a touchdown pass for him.”

Johnson, ranked No. 384 overall in the class of 2020, has been a long-time member of Michigan’s recruiting class after announcing his verbal commitment on Dec. 21, 2018.

His retirement leaves Michigan without any quarterback prospects in the class of 2020. The Wolverines, who have signed at least one quarterback in each of Harbaugh’s recruiting classes, likely will target a replacement going forward.

Michigan currently has three quarterbacks on scholarship for next season’s team: sophomore Dylan McCaffrey, redshirt freshman Joe Milton and freshman Cade McNamara.

Get more Michigan news at the Detroit Free Press.

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