Ed. Note: Yes, this is a repeat of yesterday's article. No, it is not the same. Jalen contacted me via Twitter to inform me of where I could find more complete highlights, and I felt it was only fair to him to re-do this article. So, the background info is unchanged, but the analysis has been re-written to take into account what has been learned. Link to the past article here. Another article is coming later this morning concerning our next recruit.
Jalen Johnson became Georgia Tech's third commitment on May 30, 2013, ending a 10-week drought in the recruiting realm and kicking off a massive month of June for the Jackets. He hails from Oneonta High School in Oneonta, AL. (Oneonta is found by going West on I-20 to Pell City, taking US-411 North and then UN-231 East, crossing over I-59 in the process. It's not exactly a metropolis.) He's Oneonta's first football signee since Nolen Smith (3-star, UAB) and Judd Hunt (2-star, MTSU) in 2010. Johnson is listed at 6'2", 196lbs, and can play both wide receiver and safety. He signed with Georgia Tech over offers from Southern Miss and Furman.
Johnson's film as a safety reveals two major abilities. First, he's a very good tackler, and can really lay the lumber at times. Numerous clips in his film show him making solo tackles in the open field, even from angles that make a tough task significantly tougher. Johnson's other major ability is his nose for the ball. Not only did he make a lot of interceptions, but he managed to do so frequently on passes that he had minimal reaction time for. His ability to find the ball and secure it is a skill that's basically impossible to teach, and can really come in handy. The major thing Johnson needs to work on is his pass coverage. There were some highlights that were created by his athleticism after coverages were blown. To play as a safety Johnson will need improvement in that area, though his skills seem well-developed for a strong safety role, which typically is less focused on pass coverage. As a receiver, Johnson has pretty reliable hands, and does a great job of keeping his feet and navigating traffic after the catch. His speed is average for the position groupings, but his athleticism and agility make him pretty hard to tackle. I'd compare him to Anthony Autry as a receiver based on his reliability and juking ability -- a guy who may not burn past the defense, but has some great ways of picking up yards after the catch.
Coming from such a low-profile high school (in an area with unknown levels of competition), one would assume that Johnson came to camp at Georgia Tech and really impressed the coaches in one way or another, and I'll always trust their judgment on these things. At this point, based on what I've seen, Johnson could end up playing either safety or receiver. A lot of that will depend on what the coaches want to do between him and Qua Searcy (who plays the same set of positions), but I'd say there's a good chance Johnson plays as a freshman. His tackling abilities would make him a great candidate for kickoff and punt coverage, and he would have a chance to work his way into the rotation, especially at strong safety -- where a lot of uncertainty lies as far as who will get the start. Johnson may be one of the biggest unknowns in this class, and it'll be neat to watch his progress through his time at Tech.
Johnson was rated a 3-star by Rivals (5.5) and the 247Sports Composite (.8229).
Thoughts on Jalen Johnson? Will he be a star at Tech? Would you slot him at safety or receiver?