It was three weeks ago that Jake Johnson knew that he wanted to go to LSU. He'd had many conversations with offensive coordinator Jake Peetz and felt comfortable that this was the system he could flourish in.
The opportunity to play with his brother, Max, played a huge factor as well but more so than anything, getting to play on one of the biggest stages in all of college football was an opportunity he felt he couldn't pass up. Through those coversations Johnson had with Peetz, he asked about how he could best fit into LSU's system and knew it was the place for him.
"I've talked to him a couple of times and we have a pretty good relationship so far," Johnson said. "He's gonna move me all around the field as a tight end, slot, wide out. Just finding mismatches and finding ways to get the ball. Just trying to be successful with it."
That's the general feel about this offense as it tries to move back to that truly "positionless" model it followed under Joe Brady and Steve Ensminger back in 2019. The Tigers didn't show much during the spring game but what they did show is that they won't be afraid to put players all over the field, an aspect that Johnson really feels comfortable with.
It was a series of conversations that Johnson had with the LSU staff that made him comfortable with his decision. He's been on LSU's campus many times visiting his brother throughout his freshman season in Baton Rouge and the two have talked about how enjoyable Max's first year with the Tigers was.
Jake was in the stands in Gainesville for that fog coated first opportunity Max got behind center against Florida and then was in Baton Rouge for the Ole Miss game the next weekend as well.
"It was very exciting because he's my brother and you always want to see him succeed," Johnson said. "It was a great watching him perform when he had the opportunity. I went to both games and right in front of me so it was awesome. We were on the 10 or 20 but we could hardly see because of the fog and it was crazy."
The two had conversations about the campus life and what to expect in the college atmosphere and college game but at the same time, Jake wants to experience all of these things for himself upon arrival. While watching Max on the field for those final two weeks, Jake was also putting in work of his own converting full time to tight end.
Johnson didn't actually move to tight end until his junior season in 2020. Before that he primarily played on the outside but was able to add 10 pounds of muscle and improve his blocking immensely to becoming an inside and outside threat.
"I believe I have an all around game and that one of my strengths is my ability to get open like a receiver," Johnson said. "I can do it at the next level. I just have a feel for routes and how to run them and just really getting off the jam and making the hard catches."
It was an important season for him to prove he can be an elite tight end at the collegiate level. He certainly was able to prove that as he's one of the top tight ends in the entire 2022 class across all recruiting sites.
The next step in his development is continuing to improve in all areas but the physical aspect, adding more weight and getting a little bit faster are the immediate goals he's set in place for this offseason. Johnson was recently in Baton Rouge for the spring game watching his brother compete and will be back this summer for a camp as well.
"I'm looking forward to seeing what the future holds and I'm glad to be a Tiger," Johnson said. "What you put in is what you put out. No one really realizes who's watching and knows the work I put in to be in those situations. The atmosphere of it all, getting to play in front of those fans and alongside my teammates should be really fun."