Film Review: What LSU Football is Getting in Tight End Jake Johnson

Johnson has the size, physique that fits a prototypical pass catching tight end
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LSU landed a major target on Thursday, and he’s part of a tremendous family of football talent.

Being the son of a former Super Bowl winning quarterback is hard enough, but when your older brother is also quarterback for LSU, there’s even more to live up to. That’s not been a problem for arguably the nation’s top tight end prospect, and one Thursday he made a pledge to LSU.

Jake Johnson, TE, 6-foot-5, 225-pounds, Bogart (Ga.) Oconee County

Offers: LSU (committed), Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, South Carolina, Penn State, Michigan, Maryland, Miami, Florida State and Florida.

Primary Attributes: lateral mobility, frame to add mass, hands, cuts in and out of his breaks, and playmaking ability.

Johnson’s Hudl - Junior Season

With sophomore quarterback Max Johnson already a part of the LSU football program, most believed that his younger brother, Jake Johnson, would eventually be added to the LSU roster as well. On April 15, the younger Johnson did in fact join the LSU fold.

What LSU fans should expect from Johnson is a playmaker who will be arriving in Baton Rouge. This is not your ordinary tight end. Johnson can move and cut like a big wide receiver; that’s his primary role for Oconee County as he’s their primary option.

Goodness, does Johnson ever deliver. Watching Johnson run his routes and set up defensive backs by using his eyes as well as the direction his head is pointed is a thing of beauty. Johnson is savvy. After luring the defensive back into believing he’s going in a particular direction, his raw athleticism allows him to make cuts that most players his size simply cannot conquer.

Johnson is a pure athlete. This is not a plodding tight end made for in-line blocking. Quite the contrary, Johnson does his best work outside the numbers. When matched up to a side of the field by himself, he’s been utilized by Oconee County to play a role like a Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mike Evans-type of wide receiver. Johnson is a big target that few defensive backs will handle due to his size, or his ability to stack a defensive back and catch a fade pass in the back of the end zone.

Without question, Johnson represents a player that’s the definition of the modern flex tight end. Whether in the slot, out wide, bunched in a diamond formation or even at a traditional in-line tight end position, Johnson is a problem now, as well in the future, for linebackers and safeties.

That begs the question, how will LSU use him? The answer is quite simple. Every which way the Tigers coaching staff can.

To reiterate, Johnson is a pure playmaker that few teams will be able to match up with. Height, hands, quickness, intelligence, and a frame that’s poised to add quality mass all accentuate Johnson’s overall ability. Now here’s the additional bonus.

LSU recruited wide receivers at a very high level for the past several years. Placing Johnson into that mix should be a lethal combination. With Aaron Anderson from New Orleans (Edna Karr), Decoldest Crawford from Shreveport (Green Oaks) and AJ Johnson from New Orleans (Isidore Newman) already committed to LSU, the Tigers are assembling another fantastic wide receiver recruiting class. Johnson will be complemented well while in Baton Rouge. All of those players both speed and quickness, and Johnson can be the final piece to the puzzle.

Johnson’s height will be utilized by the Tigers in a myriad of ways. It’s great to add the height that Johnson provides just for the red zone, but that height is coupled with tremendous athleticism as well. He’s likely to place many a SEC defender on skates during his LSU playing days.

Additionally, Johnson’s frame is not yet filled out. He’s going to increase his mass and strength during the next several years. He’s likely to be north of 250-pounds within the next few years. That added size will allow to be an even better blocker in time, as well as ward off defenders for contested passes.

LSU landed an excellent player in Johnson, and he’s keeping the Johnson family tradition alive.