This series of articles will break down the Red Raiders roster approaching the 2017 season. Staff members selected their top-15 players currently on the roster and for each one of them, there will be a profile with basic information, videos, and expectations.
Position: Defensive Back
Weight: 185 pounds
Hometown: Ennis, Texas
We are slowly reaching the top of our list, and the player that we analyze today is free safety Jah’Shown Johnson, who just barely missed the podium.
In high school, Johnson was a big name among Texas players and in 2013 he earned first team all-state and first team all-area honors. Obviously, he was heavily recruited by many schools and Johnson chose the Red Raiders over, among others, Texas, Baylor, Arizona State, Iowa, Oklahoma, TCU, Washington, and Washington State.
In 2014 he played until Week 5 and missed the last eight games with an injury, so he was granted a medical redshirt. Since then, his numbers have grown quickly and in 2015 Johnson started all 13 games, recording great stats and emerging as one of the leaders of the secondary. In 2015 Jah’shawn earned an All-Big 12 honorable mention.
In 2016, Johnson emerged with a few other diamonds in the rough, creating five turnovers (the most among players on the roster), and starting all 12 games. Now he has 25 consecutive starts and he is not predicted to stop.
Johnson earned his spot as the starting free safety thanks to his aggressive style of play. He’s fast, reactive, and can reach the receiver quickly, hitting hard as he has great instincts for tackling angles. He also has good ball skills, as he always tries to force turnovers during his tackles and often he reaches his goal. In his college career, Jah’shawn already forced five fumbles and has five interceptions.
In 2017, Johnson is expected to be a major contributor on a unit that always needs help and is often heavily tested, like every other Big 12 secondary. Tech’s recruiters did a fine job by bringing a couple players to Lubbock that can contribute immediately, JuCo transfers Octavious Morgan and Vaughnte Dorsey: a more experienced (and maybe less injury-prone) unit is a necessary condition for a better season.
In many ways, the secondary is the riskiest unit of the defense, but this does not mean that it’s the weakest one. We can find experienced players, increasing quality, and good depth that will allow the younger players to mature without pressure. Johnson clearly is the leader of the unit, and if other players will strive and follow his example, maybe something interesting will rise.