This Sophomore class is full of special players on both sides of the ball from Breiden Fehoko and D'Vonta Hinton to Tony Brown and Jonathan Giles. This article we're focusing on redshirt Sophomore safety Jah'Shawn Johnson. In his short time at Tech he has already established himself as a big-time play-maker for the Red Raiders. One that every opposing offense fears because of his ability to cause a turnover on any given play, reminding opponents no play is a "safe play". Let's take a look at Johnson's biography, what he has accomplished at Tech so far, and what we can expect from the Safety this coming season.
Jah'Shawn Johnson came to Lubbock from Ennis High School, a 5A high school in northeast Texas. During his senior year in 2013 he compiled seven interceptions, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. So it's obviously already clear that he was a play-maker then just as he his now. Johnson was a highly recruited three-star prospect according to Rivals, Scout, 24/7 Sports, and ESPN. He chose Texas Tech over the likes of Baylor, Oklahoma State, TCU, and Washington.
Also Jah'Shawn Johnson comes from solid football pedigree. He is the son of former Dallas Cowboys safety, Keith Davis. Davis was a NFL safety for about seven years before he joined the UFL in 2010. Keith likely made his biggest impact in college at Sam Houston State, where he is currently in the Hall of Fame. Davis, like his son Jah'Shawn, was undersized at around 5'10 180 lbs, but he brought an ultra-competitive edge to the game knowing that you can outsmart and outwork bigger players. The same edge has been inherited by Jah'Shawn, who plays very smart, aggressive football. Johnson has stated that he has learned a lot from his father and they continue to work and watch film together to help perfect his skills as he continues to reach for higher goals.
In 2014, Johnson's freshman year, he played cornerback behind Tevin Madison and Justis Nelson before his season ending injury during the fourth week of the season. He played in all four games leading up to his injury, compiling five tackles and one interception at Oklahoma State. He underwent shoulder surgery in early October that would ultimately take him out for the remainder of the season. After his surgery he started attending safety position group meetings and was eventually named as a safety, which is what he was recruited for in the first place. He received a medical redshirt because of his injuries giving him another year of eligibility.
In 2015, Jah'Shawn "Play-maker" Johnson took the field by storm. He started in all 13 games as a redshirt freshman at safety. He played a role in eight turnovers last season with four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, two interceptions, and finished the year with 84 tackles, which was third best on the team. His best performance came on the road against Arkansas, where he led the team with 16 tackles, but most importantly he forced a crucial fumble late in the game as he straight up stripped the ball from Arkansas running back, Alex Collins SEE HERE. This turnover would ultimately seal the win for Texas Tech and give the team and Kliff Kingsbury it's first statement win of the season. Johnson would make his name known again on the road against Kansas, where Tech found themselves struggling heavily against an otherwise weak team. With about four minutes to go in the fourth quarter Kansas had the ball only down three points. A touchdown or fieldgoal by the Jayhawks would have given them a very good chance to pull off the upset. Thankfully Jah'Shawn reminded us who he is and intercepted the first ball thrown his way and returned it for a touchdown once again sealing the deal for Texas Tech.SEE HERE He made a statement once again against Kansas State at home forcing both of Tech's turnovers with a fumble recovery in first quarter and a game ending interception in the fourth. Jah'Shawn ended the year ranked second in the nation and first in the conference for fumble recoveries and he ended the year as All-Big 12 Honorable Mention.
Johnson's performance last year earned him the title: "Ballhawk". He has shown us what he is capable of and clearly there is big time upside for the big time player. This coming season is expected to be even better for the redshirt sophomore. He has a solid supporting cast in the defensive backfield that I believe is low-key one of the better defensive backfields in the conference despite the defenses' struggle the past several years. It's clear that he works hard and has set high expectations for himself. I expect for him to continue to relentlessly pursue the football and create turnovers. One thing that makes him great is that even when the defense breaks down Johnson is capable of saving the day with a big turnover. Last season he was responsible for eight turnovers and I think that if he can produce that type of season again he will find himself amongst the best in the Big 12.
Overall Jah'Shawn is a fun player to watch as he is capable of making a big play at any second. He has everything you want in a player and then some. Hopefully the defense as a whole feeds off his energy and work ethic. Johnson has proven in a short period of time that he is not afraid of the moment (or anything for that matter) and is capable of making big plays in the most clutch moments. I'm excited to see how he improves and plays this coming season as the "Ballhawk" takes flight once again.