Notre Dame has picked up a commitment from Ocala (Fla.) Trinity Catholic offensive tackle Caleb Johnson. The Irish staff was able to flip Johnson from Auburn, where he had been committed since May.
Johnson earned offers from Alabama, Florida, LSU, Auburn, Penn State, Florida State, Tennessee, Miami, Arkansas, Louisville, Utah, Pitt, Purdue, Ole Miss, Virginia, Georgia Tech, West Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Baylor, Boston College, Duke, Indiana, Arizona State, Syracuse and Rutgers.
Let's take a look at what the commitment of Johnson means for the Fighting Irish class, and how he fits in at Notre Dame.
Johnson becomes the 23rd player to commit to Notre Dame and the 12th offensive recruit.
The 6-7, 290-pound tackle becomes the fifth offensive lineman to join the Irish class. He joins Top 100 blockers Blake Fisher and Rocco Spindler, tackle Joe Alt and guard Pat Coogan.
After landing just two commits in the 2020 class, Notre Dame was in great need of a deep and talented class in 2021. Alt is a pure tackle while Spindler and Coogan are guards. Fisher could certainly stay and thrive at tackle, but he could also move inside and be an elite guard.
When you look at the makeup of the future offensive line, the fact is Notre Dame needed another tackle in this class, and landing Johnson gives them that player.
It's a strong offensive line class, and although Johnson doesn't grade out as high as players like Wyatt Milum and Nolan Rucci, he is a talented player that gives the Irish a quality pickup at a position of need.
NOTRE DAME FIT
Johnson plays right tackle in high school and that is the position he projects to play at Notre Dame. Johnson is tall and has a very good frame, one that should allow him to get well over 300 pounds. He's not as long as you might expect a 6-7 player to be, but he's plenty long enough to play on the edge.
The Trinity Catholic standout is a quality all-around blocker that grades out well as a run blocker and pass blocker. In the run game, he shows a good vertical burst off the line and shows good leg drive. Johnson is a waist bender and he's not incredibly flexible, but he is quick off the ball, he plays with a strong base and his lower body leg drive is impressive.
Johnson anchors well in the pass game and his combination of technique and good base allows him to re-direct well. He is a bit tight through the hips, so his quick change of direction skills can lumber a bit, but the technique is sound. Johnson competes hard, and there is plenty of room for him to fill out his frame and add strength, especially with his upper body. As that happens I expect his run game success to take an even bigger jump.
Johnson is a smart blocker that shows a good feel for angles and leverage, and he's effective working on the second level. He doesn't shoot his hands quite as well as you'd like, but he shows a good punch, and this is certainly a teachable and correctable attribute. When he does get his hands away from his body, Johnson shows good natural power.
There are always areas where a young linemen must keep getting better, but I'm impressed with Johnson's footwork. He's an efficient blocker that maximizes the physical traits he possesses.
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