As a Recruit
Johnson was a long-time commit to his hometown school, San Diego State, before showing up on the Georgia Tech recruiting radar. Despite posting record numbers in high school in the middle of one of the nation's largest recruiting hotbeds, Johnson didn't garner much attention from big programs. Georgia Tech was his only Power-5 offer. Despite the lack of offers, getting Johnson to Tech wasn't a slam dunk. The coaching staff had to convince Johnson to move all the way across the country to become a Yellow Jacket. They did just that on his visit, and after visiting San Diego State the week after Georgia Tech, Johnson committed to Coach Johnson on an in-home visit.
Johnson is a unique prospect for Georgia Tech. Under CPJ, Georgia Tech has traditionally recruited shorter, quicker quarterbacks who are "run first" types like Justin Thomas or Tevin Washington. At 6-3, Johnson's height and proficiency as a passer could both shake up the flow of the offense while he is under center.
What makes Johnson truly special as a passer isn't just his arm strength, but his ability to make a wide variety of throws proficiently. Over the course of his film, he drives the ball downfield, throws darts on short routes, throws touch passes into the end zone, and hits pinpoint back-shoulder passes downfield. He passes from the pocket and while scrambling. He also switches up his velocity to suit the type of throw he is making and drives off his front foot consistently when inside the pocket. He could use some work when on the run, however, as there were some instances of him throwing off his back foot while rolling to the sideline.
His throwing isn't all perfect. Some of his throws were late or under-thrown, but it is the sheer multiplicity of his capabilities that makes him such an intriguing prospect. If he can bring his diverse skills to the college game at even a proficient level, it has a chance to change the flow of Georgia Tech's passing game.
As a runner, Johnson has a lot of speed. His height limits his acceleration and quickness a bit, but once he gets up to speed he beats angles to go the distance. He also has fluid hips that allow him to turn upfield quickly without losing a lot of speed. While he did show a propensity for slipping through arm tackles below the waist, don't expect a large amount of power running from Johnson. Like fellow QB signee Jay Jones, he's a slippery, elusive runner who can take it to the house if given a lane.
What to Expect
The QB competition to replace Justin Thomas will certainly be an interesting one. Johnson could be competing with Jay Jones, Matthew Jordan, Christian Campbell, and even TaQuon Marshall. Each of these QBs brings a vastly different skill set to the competition to further add to the intrigue. Each will have to master the base offense in order to be considered, but it will be interesting to see CPJ add some wrinkles that play to the strengths of the winner.
If Johnson wins, it could bring some interesting new facets to the passing game. Under Thomas, the passing game has largely relied on passes to the sideline. Comeback routes and wheels have been heavily featured, but a lack of a passing game over the middle has led teams to sell out covering the sideline, and allows teams to bring more men on the pass rush. With a taller QB who can make a variety of throws, this facet of the offense can return, and could help with Georgia Tech's woes in the passing game.
Further changes to the offense could also occur if Johnson wins the job, but I won't speculate wildly. With Johnson's commitment, the future of the Georgia Tech offense just got a lot more interesting.