The Texas A&M Aggies hadn't picked up a commitment in exactly three months entering their camp on Sunday, but that streak ended in the evening with the big-time pledge of Katy (Texas) Seven Lakes defensive end Jarrett Johnson, a decision commemorated by head coach Kevin Sumlin in his signature way:
YESSIR!— Kevin Sumlin (@CoachSumlin) June 3, 2013
It seemed fitting that the Aggies made their 11th addition to the 2014 class three months to the day after a monster Junior Day that landed West Mesquite (Texas) safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner, Nederland (Texas) defensive tackle DeShawn Washington, and North Forney (Texas) athlete Armani Watts. A consensus three-star prospect right on the edge of earning his fourth star, Johnson is a 6'3, 225-pounder ranked as the no. 19 weakside defensive end in the country by the 247Sports composite rankings and the no. 36 player in the state of Texas.
A&M was the choice over offers from Baylor, Missouri, Northwestern, Oklahoma, and Texas, a list that was almost certainly deflated by the fact that only the Aggies and Longhorns had been in serious contention for the last several months. At one point the two schools were neck and neck, but as has happened on a number of occasions during the 2014 recruiting cycle, the Aggies were able to come out on top over their former rivals after Johnson twice visited College Station in April. It's a recent trend, but one that is heavily favoring the rising SEC recruiting power in the current cycle.
At 225 pounds and with a lean, rangy frame, Johnson plays with better functional strength than his current physique would suggest, especially against the run, where he shows the ability to stand up and control offensive linemen with his hands and lower body strength before separation, opening up, and tracking down ballcarriers. He can also slide laterally down the line of scrimmage against the run and in general shows strong short-area athleticism and pursuit skills.
Jarrett Johnson 2014 DE (JR Highlights) Katy, TX (via 247SportsStudio)
As a projected weakside defensive end who may need some time to reach an optimal playing weight, the concern with Johnson is that he doesn't show much on film as a pass rusher -- the highlights linked above don't include a single play of him making a play rushing the quarterback. His Hudl film shows some flashes, but they are mostly of the effort variety, so it's not clear from the available film whether Johnson has any developed pass-rushing moves. The tools are there in terms of his quickness, it's just an area of his game where he will need some coaching in college.
Johnson is the 11th commitment of the 2014 Texas A&M class and the first defensive end, though the Aggies are in strong shape with Arlington (Texas) Martin star Myles Garrett and Chandler (Arizona)'s Qualen Cunningham. The class currently ranks third overall and second in the SEC after holding the top spot in the rankings until the recent dry spell that just ended.
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