AUSTIN — With Texas’ two starting inside linebackers set to graduate, Tom Herman saw the need to find a prospect ready to compete upon arrival in Austin. He found one from the JUCO ranks in Fullerton College’s Caleb Johnson.
Johnson, 6-foot-1, 220, committed to Texas today. Johnson had a previous commitment to Iowa State, and Texas beat finalists Arkansas, Oregon, and Colorado for Johnson’s verbal pledge.
Johnson has three years of eligibility after redshirting this season. He has the potential to play immediately and would fit at Rover or B-backer in Todd Orlando’s schemes.
Excerpt from the Recruiting Notebook:
How he fits at Texas: Johnson is a quick fix to the very real problem that is Gary Johnson’s forthcoming graduation. He’s got similar size, great change of direction and speed even if it’s not quite at Johnson’s unworldly level. As a JUCO he already has valuable experience in college schemes and is the kind of “cover him up and let him run wild” rover that Todd Orlando’s D can really maximize. Shorter but quick guys like this are easy to find now but they don’t typically come with two years of college ball experience. – Ian Boyd
Coach says: Strengths — Arrives at the ball in a damned hurry with something to prove. Appears compactly built and thick through the lower body. Takes on blockers and runners willingly and appears quite fearless. Great range and shows some great motor plays in limited tape. Seems assignment sound and delivers a bit shock on his hits. 41 tackles with 8.5 for loss with 5.5 sacks seems about right based on what I see on film. Diagnoses plays quickly. A blitz weapon. Ready to transfer in spring 2019. Self-reported GPA pretty decent. Areas for Improvement/Concern — De-committed to Iowa State. Not much film on his pass coverage or ball skills. Would like to see this guy playing a little heavier but if he’s Gary Johnson 2.0, I would not care if they left him at this weight.
How this affects Texas: Johnson fits in multiple spots for this defense, but ultimately brings experience and age. This class needs more linebackers and Johnson can be one of those. Herman has no problem mining the junior colleges like with Gary Johnson, so this isn’t a surprise. He’s a December grad so he’d enroll in January, which is incredibly beneficial. – Justin Wells
Johnson becomes the 21st member of Texas’ 2019 class joining Jacoby Jones (Butler CC – KS), Myron Warren (Many – LA), Marcus Washington (Trinity Catholic – MO), David Gbenda (Cinco Ranch), Tyler Owens (Plano East), Derrian Brown (Buford – GA), Javonne Shepherd (North Forest), Marcus Tillman (Jones – FL), Marques Caldwell (Alvin), Chris Adimora (Lakewood – CA), Peter Mpagi (George Ranch), Jake Smith (Notre Dame Prep – AZ), Jared Wiley (Temple), Tyler Johnson (Conroe Oak Ridge), Brayden Liebrock (Chandler – AZ), Kenyatta Watson II (Grayson – GA), De’Gabriel Floyd (Westlake – CA), Jordan Whittington (Cuero), T’Vondre Sweat (Huntsville), and Roschon Johnson (Port Neches-Groves).