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Syracuse Expected to Hire Michael Johnson as Wide Receivers Coach (Report)

The Orange will round out it’s staff with the hire.

Syracuse football is expected to hire Michael Johnson as its wide receivers coach, according to ESPN’s Pete Thamel. Johnson is currently the tight ends coach at Florida Atlantic University. 

More on Johnson’s coaching background via his FAU bio.


  • Joined the staff in January of 2021 as co-offensive coordinator and the quarterback’s coach
  • Not only will he be reunited with head coach Willie Taggart, Johnson will once again have the opportunity to coach his son Michael Jr., who also joined the Owls in January as a transfer from Penn State. He previously coached his son as a high school athlete
  • Johnson's efforts in 2021 saw N'Kosi Perry end his first season at FAU ranked in the nation's top 55 in seven categories including: Passing Efficiency (55), Passing TDs (41), Passing Yards (51), Passing Yards Per Game (49), Passing Yards Per Completion (34), Points Responsible For (51) and Points Responsible For Per game (48). Perry also was listed No. 71 in Competition Percentage, No. 55 in Completions Per Game, No. 53 in Total Offense, and No. 44 in Yards per Pass attempt
  • Along with Perry, Johnson oversaw the development of Nick Tronti, Michael Johnson, Jr. and Willie Taggart, Jr.
  • Johnson will assume the responsibility of the tight ends in 2022

At Mississippi State

  • Served as the wide receivers coach for Mississippi State for the 2019 season

At Oregon

  • The proven recruiter helped the Ducks land the No. 5 recruiting class during the December 2018 early signing period
  • Johnson’s wide receivers unit in 2018 featured the best individual performance at the position in program history
  • Junior Dillon Mitchell finished with 75 catches for a single-season record 1,184 yards receiving, which also led the Pac-12, and 10 touchdowns
  • Mitchell was named Second Team All-Pac-12 by both conference coaches and The Associated Press

At The King’s Academy

  • Served as the head coach at The King’s Academy from 2014-16 in Sunnyvale, California
  • Johnson managed the task at TKA of coaching his son Michael Jr., a highly ranked dual-threat quarterback


  • Joined the UCLA staff in 2011 as the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach
  • Under his leadership, senior wide receiver Nelson Rosario led the Bruins and ranked No. 5 among Pac-12 receivers with 1,161 yards to go along with 64 catches and five touchdowns
  • Helped guide the Bruins to an appearance in the first Pac-12 Championship Game and also served as the interim head coach in the Fight Hunger Bowl

San Francisco 49ers

  • In 2010, Johnson was promoted to San Francisco’s offensive coordinator under Mike Singletary after working as quarterbacks coach in 2009
  • He played a key role in the development of quarterbacks Shaun Hill and Alex Smith. The two combined for 23 passing touchdowns in 2009, marking the highest total in a single season by a 49ers signalcaller since 2003. Hill started the first six games, but Smith earned his way back into the starting lineup after not having played a regular season game in two-plus years due to injury
  • Behind Johnson’s guidance, Smith stepped in and recorded the best 10-game stretch of his career at the time, setting career highs in touchdown passes (18), completion percentage (.605) and quarterback rating (81.5)

Baltimore Ravens

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  • Served as the wide receivers coach for the Baltimore Ravens from 2006-07
  • Helped veteran wideout Derrick Mason record his sixth 1,000-yard season during in 2007
  • Mason led the Ravens in receiving yards (1,087), catches (103) and touchdown receptions (5)
  • In 2006, wide receiver Mark Clayton developed into Baltimore’s top playmaker, leading the team in receiving yards (939). Clayton also logged five touchdown catches, including three of 62 yards or more

Atlanta Falcons

  • Coached quarterbacks from 2003-05, tutoring three-time Pro Bowl quarterback Michael Vick, and led the wide receivers unit in 2002
  • Vick passed for 2,412 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2005, while ranking second on the team with 597 rushing yards. Vick became the first NFL quarterback to throw for more than 250 yards and run for more than 100 yards in a single game versus the Broncos at Denver during the 2004 season
  • In 2003, Johnson was given the keys to the Falcons’ offense for the final two games of the season
  • In those two contests, Vick recorded his second-highest quarterback rating of the year (119.2 at Tampa Bay and 93.0 at Jacksonville)
  • Johnson tutored a young Falcons wide receiver group in 2002 that included Brian Finneran, who had the most productive season of his career, recording 833 yards on 56 receptions and six touchdowns

San Diego Chargers

  • Worked his first NFL season, in 2000, with the San Diego Chargers in as the Chargers’ quarterbacks coach when Jim Harbaugh and Ryan Leaf were QBs
  • Also coached Doug Flutie to 3,476 passing yards in 2001, the most by a Chargers quarterback since Dan Fouts, and was instrumental in the development of then-rookie quarterback Drew Brees

At Oregon State

  • Began his professional coaching career at Oregon State focusing his attention on the wide receivers his first two seasons and then the quarterbacks in 1999, a season in which he helped guide the program to its first bowl game in 39 years

World Football League

  • Played four seasons in the World Football League and the Canadian Football League

As a College Student-athlete
At Akron

  • Set numerous records as the starting quarterback at the University of Akron in 1988 and 1989, including being named the school’s Athlete of the Year in 1989-90

At Arizona State and Mesa Community College

  • Played at Arizona State (1985-86) and Mesa Community College

Consultant Work

  • Prior to serving as the head coach at The Kings Academy, Johnson spent two seasons as a player personnel director at North East Sports Consultants