When McLane Carter went down in the first quarter of the season opening loss to Ole Miss, some argued that this was the second leader of a unit to go down with an injury. I was one of those people, as the biggest piece to success on the defensive end by the Red Raiders was injured for the first three games of the season. Jah’Shawn Johnson, senior safety and captain, is the quarterback of that defense. Now I personally don’t think he is as talented as Dakota Allen or maybe even Jordyn Brooks, but what Johnson does while on the field is manage the secondary. He is also the safety valve and one of your most sure tacklers.
In my opinion so far this season, Johnson has shown to be the MVP of this defense. Think about it, the one thing that has plagued the Red Raiders is big plays, as they gave up six plays of over 30 yards to the Ole Miss Rebels and four to the Houston Cougars. The Red Raiders gave up three of these such plays against Oklahoma State, however none of them went for touchdowns and none eclipsed 40 yards. All three of those plays came on different drives and on two of those drives, you were able to hold them to less than a touchdown as one resulted in a turnover on downs and the other in a field goal.
He not only helped the Red Raiders allow less big plays, he helped them get off the field. The leading tacklers in this game for the Red Raiders, Jordyn Brooks and Dakota Allen, only had six tackles each. That doesn’t look glorious, but when you look at another key stat, time of possession, it makes complete sense. The Red Raiders has over double the time of possession as the Cowboys because the Red Raider defense was able to get off the field when they needed to. Out of the 12 Oklahoma State possessions, 9 of them were held to less than 7 plays. There were only three “long” drives in the game, meaning the Red Raiders were able to stay fresh until the end of the game.
The addition of Johnson also means that you add to the already tremendous depth you have at safety. There are now five guys you can roll in at that position, Jah’Shawn Johnson and John Bonney appear to be your starters, and Thomas Leggett, Vaughnte Dorsey, and Kisean Allen will be your backups. With this type of rotation at safety, you have quality depth and you should always be fresh the entire game.
I’m not saying we should always expect holding the opposing team to under 20, but I am thinking that this team will be in a better position to do so with Johnson on the field and healthy. From a depth standpoint, it gives you an extra body that takes up plenty of snaps and his ability to read offenses helps Dakota Allen make correct audibles at the line of scrimmage. No matter the exact reason of the Red Raiders’ great defensive performance, we should all be happy and excited that Jah’Shawn Johnson is back on the field.