With the impending departures of current Texas linebackers Anthony Wheeler and Gary Johnson, Todd Orlando and Tom Herman needed to land several immediate impact players at the linebacker position for the 2019 recruiting cycle. The Longhorns landed one earlier this year with commitment of DeGabriel Floyd and added another one today when Fullerton College LB Caleb Johnson pledged to Texas.
Johnson is widely considered one of the best junior college linebackers in the country and is ranked as the 3rd best outside linebacker prospect in the 2019 junior college class, according to the 247Sports’ composite rankings. Despite his previous commitment to Iowa State, the Longhorns offered Johnson prior to the 2018 season. Shortly before his official visit to Austin for the Baylor game, Johnson de-committed from the Cyclones and Texas was able to seal the deal during his official to Austin.
Name: Caleb Johnson
Junior College: Fullerton College
City & State: Fullerton, CA
No statistics available.
- It’s hard to miss the similarities between Caleb Johnson and current Texas LB and former junior college standout Gary Johnson. Caleb loves contact and is not afraid to lay the wood.
- Johnson has a lot of film where he is assigned as a QB spy, and diagnoses plays well. He closes fast and never lets the quarterback escape the pocket.
- While we were unable to find a 40 time, his football speed is apparent. He frequently runs down receivers in the open field and beats skill players to the edge.
- For a player his size, Johnson does a good job of shifting through bodies in the run game to get into the backfield. He is not afraid to take on defenders 100 pounds heavier than him.
- Very effective as a blitzer and looks like he shoots out of a cannon. Shows he can get home to the quarterback and be disruptive in the backfield.
- Very physical player and packs a punch as a hitter. Accelerates through contact whether it’s a blocker or a ball carrier.
- Could potentially challenge right away for a starting position with Texas set to lose seniors at the position.
- High effort player, doesn’t give up plays and will make the hustle plays coaches love.
- Despite his physical attributes, Johnson could still benefit from some additional weight to help make his transition to playing major FBS college football easier.
- While the skill is evident Texas will be banking heavily on Johnson being ready to play, and that could be a dicey situation if he proves not to be.
- The jump from JUCO to FBS is a big one and no matter how good the player performs, you have to expect an adjustment period.
Johnson profiles perfectly for the rover position in the Texas defense. His ability to defend in space while also serving as an effective blitzer is something Texas will need in 2019. He possesses the ability to make plays between the tackles and embraces playing physical. He diagnoses plays well and rarely chooses a wrong gap to attack.
Johnson will need to add some weight once he gets to campus, but as an early enrollee he will participate in winter strength and conditioning with Yancy McKnight. After taking a medical redshirt for one of his years at Fullerton College, Johnson will have 3 seasons to use his 3 years of eligibility remaining.
Adding Johnson to the linebacker room will give Texas some much needed depth. DeMarvion Overshown came to Texas as a safety but has begun getting reps at the rover position during the 2018 season. He and Johnson figure to battle it out throughout spring practice and into fall camp for the starting role, although both will surely play.
Last time Texas took a junior college linebacker in Gary Johnson, it worked out about as well as they could have hoped for. If Caleb Johnson comes anywhere close to replicating the production of his comparison, Todd Orlando and Texas fans will be very happy.
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