Ole Miss could use an influx of talent on the defensive side of the ball, and SI All-American Candidate Tysheem Johnson could be the next big thing.
An athlete that Ole Miss would be playing at safety, the 5-foot-10, 185-pound recruit out of Philadelphia is set to commit tonight at 6:30 p.m. Central Time.
We caught up with Johnson last week, but our Sports Illustrated's counterparts at Johnson's local school Maryland caught up with him yesterday. He seems to be still be very high on the Rebels.
“They’re starting something new with a whole different mixture of coaches in coach [Lane] Kiffin and coach [Chris] Partridge in the SEC," Johnson told Ahmed Ghafir of Sports Illustrated's Maryland site on Tuesday.
Ghafir's conversation with Johnson mirrored the one we at The Grove Report had with the Philadelphia prospect last week – while Maryland made his final cut, Ole Miss and Arizona State seem to be the favorites. Truly, if we had to predict, it would be the Rebels.
A big reason that Ole Miss is standing out with Johnson is because of his relationship with co-defensive coordinator Chris Partridge.
Partridge started recruiting Johnson while he was coaching at Michigan. Now, Michigan didn't even make the final cut on Johnson and Ole Miss seems to be in the driver's seat.
"I've got a great relationship with coach Partridge. The thing that stands out with him is he was keeping it real with me the whole time – it always was the same with him, it was never anything different," Johnson told The Grove Report earlier in September. "That's going to be a team down there, with the new coaches, they're going to be a lot better. That new defensive scheme, the new offense, it's going to be different this time around."
Johnson is set to make his commitment at 6:30 p.m. Central Time. Check back here throughout the day for more updates on Johnson and you can see his SI All-American profile below.
Frame: Average length, yet excellent chisel and definition. Clearly defined upper-body and abdomen with tight waist. Straight lower-base with fair bubble for size.
Athleticism: Plays multiple positions with good foot quickness and lower-half coordination. Balanced in his pedal and his solid hip fluidity to flip and transition. Change of direction appears more natural and fluid after he’s been on the move. Drives on underneath routes with good angles to ball and man.
Instincts: Works with good ball skills on back end with good eyes, feel, anticipation, judgment and assertion in air traffic. Disrupts catch points with physicality more than length. Is reliable to walk into box pre-snap and play as a force-player from the wing/flanks. Also will play the run from depth and meet ball-carriers on second level.
Polish: Contributes as a safety, boundary corner, receiver, running back and return specialist. Safety position features him on the boundary hash and in the post, with cover-1 and cover-4 concepts. Limited size and length. Needs to add mass and strength to tackle college ball-carriers solo. Must improve man coverage skills.
Bottom Line: While he possesses average size, Johnson is a reliable safety prospect whose best attribute is his ball skills. He isn’t afraid to contribute to combatting the run, but his value comes from what he does when the ball is in flight. Johnson projects best as post or split safety in a college secondary that features quarters coverage concepts.
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