Prospect: Jayden Johnson
Status: SI All-American candidate
Vitals: 6-foot-2, 200 pounds
School: Cedartown (Ga.) Cedartown
Committed to: South Carolina
Projected Position: Safety/Cornerback
Frame: Long and lean. Well-defined arms, legs and calves. Not the broadest shoulders, but still room to add major muscle in upper-body.
Athleticism: Easy strider in the open field. Sudden change-of-direction ability; cuts on his toes. High-flier on the basketball court who’s capable of eye-popping dunks. Shows strength pressing receivers at LOS and running through ball-carriers.
Instincts: Clear understanding of leverage in coverage. Diagnoses plays quickly from the outside as cornerback. Natural with the ball in his hands. Patient runner when necessary, setting up blockers and defenders alike with savvy.
Polish: Plays multiple roles for Cedartown on both sides of the ball, including part-time quarterback. Shows good footwork and mirroring ability in press coverage. Shows awareness of responsibilities as a zone and man defender. He always sees the ball and what’s in front of him.
Bottom Line: It’s tempting to stick Johnson on offense to get the ball in his hands, but his ceiling is highest in the defensive backfield. He has most comfort and experience for time being at cornerback, where his size proves a major asset. Long-term, don’t be surprised if additional weight pushes him to safety, allowing Johnson to patrol the entire field while serving as the Gamecocks’ last line of defense.