Texas is brimming with talent every cycle, and every school tends to try Darrion Johnson figures to be one of the most versatile prospects out of the state of Texas in the 2014 recruiting class. The Brenham (Texas) athlete could play on either side of the football and will be highly coveted for his abilities as a football player.
Johnson has the skill to play both cornerback and wide receiver. Johnson has only three offers at this point, but two of them are the big kahunas in the Big 12 in Oklahoma and Texas (and was part of a huge contingent of visitors for the Longhorns last October during an official visit). Johnson is considered a consensus four-star cornerback and could see his recruitment heat up over the offseason.
Johnson is ranked as the 100th-best prospect in the nation according to Rivals. He's the 40th-best athlete in the 2014 class and the 59th-best prospect in the state of Texas according to 247 Sports. Johnson is also considered the 18th-best cornerback according to Scout and is a member of the ESPN Watchlist.
SB Nation Recruiting analyst Wescott Eberts:
At this point, it's hard to figure out why Johnson doesn't have a bigger offer list -- he's well regarded by most of the services and has excellent film, with no questions about his grades or off-field activities.
And it doesn't stem from the fact that he's listed at 5-9, less than ideal size for a cornerback. After all, fellow Texas product Chris Hardeman may be a little bit shorter and he is closing in on 20 offers, despite having been committed to LSU since last June, though the fact that his father is the recruiting coordinator at talent-rich Alief Taylor probably doesn't hurt.
A player who can flash as a kick return due to his speed, lateral quickness, and balance, Johnson also has good awareness when playing in the secondary. On one play, he comes off the outside receiver because he reads the smash concept and intercepts a pass in the endzone, an attribute he showed in other situations, as well. On another, he anticipates a wide receiver screen, jumps it, and nearly takes it for a touchdown.
Brenahm plays a lot of off coverage with Johnson, where he shows quick feet, sinks nicely into his backpedal, and does a good job of planting his foot and exploding back towards receivers on short routes. However, he can also flash the ability to to play in press coverage, jam receivers with his hands, but still transition quickly enough to sit in their hip pocket.
As a tackler, Johnson consistently explodes through ball carriers with strong form tackles, getting his legs driving and finishing by wrapping up -- he's a cornerback who isn't afraid of sticking his nose in there and delivering some hits, hardly a given at his position.
Assessing his ball skills may in some ways depend on the level of criticism willing to be levied against Johnson. On one hand, he gets his hands on a high number of passes because he reads quarterbacks well and gets solid jumps, in addition to his ability to come off his own man to make plays, and also seems to be able to get his head around in man coverage and find the football. The plays that he doesn't make aren't easy plays, but he doesn't finish quite as many plays with interceptions as he could have his junior season.
There's not a lot of love from 247Sports with their assessment of Johnson as a three-star prospect and not a lot of love for his skills in terms of an extensive offer list. After breaking down the film, it looks like Rivals has it about right with Johnson as the 100-best player in the country and it would be a shock if his offer list didn't start reflecting that after the spring evaluation period.
Look through SB Nation's many excellent college football blogs to find your team's community.