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Why New WR Coach Michael Johnson Is a Key Addition for SU

Tuesday morning CFB Insider Pete Thamel tweeted Syracuse had added FAU’s Michael Johnson to its coaching staff. Even though some may overlook the importance of a positional coach, Orange fans should pay attention to this. Johnson has experience as a hungry recruiter at bigger programs, and as an offensive coordinator in the NFL. This is a key add for Dino Babers.

Johnson had joined FAU a year ago to coach his son, and reunite with Willie Taggart. But SU has poached a guy with bigger resume items than C-USA. He was a QB at Akron in the late-’80s and played professionally in the World League and the CFL. His coaching career has taken him through some big jobs, especially with the 49ers.

In 2010 he rose to OC under Mike Singletary, but before that he was the QB Coach for Doug Flutie in his renaissance in San Diego, and Michael Vick’s best years in Atlanta. Vick made the Pro Bowl in 2 of the 3 seasons Johnson coached him.

He helped mentor Alex Smith in his time with the 49ers, and then headed to the college ranks. He was the OC at UCLA. He helped reel in the #5 class in the nation at Oregon in December ’18. That year he also guided the wideouts to one of the best seasons in program history. He moved to Mississippi State to coach the wideouts after that.

The resume is excellent. Syracuse’s passing game has been clunky for years now. He has recruiting ties in Florida, a place filled with skill position talent. He’s called plays in the NFL and college. He’s seen how the big fish in the pond work at Oregon, and the pressures of the SEC. He can share his experience in the NFL. And Babers needs all the help he can get. This is an important hire for SU football. Let’s see if it pays dividends before Signing Day.

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