Ole Miss Gaining Steam With SI All-American Candidate ATH Tysheem Johnson
Tysheem Johnson has reached the home stretch.
With his college commitment decision date looming, just under two weeks out, the Ole Miss hopeful is narrowing his list in his mind. A few schools from his top seven are really standing out, and Ole Miss seems to be gaining a lot of momentum.
Johnson, an SI All-American Candidate athlete from Philadelphia, Pa., will be making his decision on his birthday later this month on Sept. 30. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound safety and running back recruit will be choosing been Ole Miss, LSU, Alabama, Arizona State, Stanford, Maryland and Texas A&M.
"I'm really excited," Johnson said earlier this week while catching up with The Grove Report. "It's really just about how they plan to use me that makes some stand out above the others at this point. I've sort of got it narrowed down."
Getting early playing time is an important thing for Johnson – he truly wants to see the field extensively, if not start, as a true freshman. Logically, that sort of rules out LSU and Alabama and really helps bump up Ole Miss, who seems to be the favorite in his recruitment to this point.
Johnson is really close with Ole Miss co-defensive coordinator Chris Partridge. That relationship actually started back in Johnson's sophomore season. At the time, Partridge was recruiting him to come to Michigan. Now, Partridge seems to be pulling Johnson south to Oxford.
"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 said. "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."
A two-way player right now, Ole Miss is recruiting Johnson primarily to play the star safety position in the Rebel secondary, but he might get a shot to see a bit of work on offense as well. Some other schools recruiting him, specifically Arizona State and Maryland, would use him primarily on offense.
See below for the full Sports Illustrated All-American evaluation of Johnson:
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.