The Knights secured their first defensive commitment from the class of 2022 when Jamaal Johnson picked UCF over several other offers. The 6’2”, 250-pound defensive end is a truly competitive player, and one that the UCF football program is fortunate to bring into its recruiting class.
Playing for 3A powerhouse Chaminade-Madonna in Broward County, Fla., he’s earned a reputation as one of South Florida’s top pass rushers. He was nice enough to go in-depth about his commitment to UCF with Inside The Knights.
Why did you decide to commit to UCF now?
“Why wait?” is what Johnson promptly responded with. “That was the school that really showed that they were really coming for me. They were coming for me hard. It was kind of based, you know, the school was showing love. Why not lock on, you know?”
Which school came in second for your services?
“Pittsburgh. It was Pitt. Yeah, Pitt was the second option.”
What would you consider to be your best pass rush move?
“Uh, that’s a good one. “I would say...the club-rip. You can tell by my film that I like to rip a lot. From time to time, you’ll see me do a chop-club-rip. I try to add that to my arsenal, too. Those would be my two go-to (moves).”
How do you guys at Chaminade-Madonna try to work on moves?
The way we work it is, our coaches try to find a comfort zone for pass rushing for each individual. So, he will meet with us. He sees what we did on film, from practice, and tries to take that and perfect the craft, yeah know?”
Do you use the hand swipe move?
“Um, that is something that I did tell my coach that I did want to add into my arsenal as well. I feel like I have long arms, so why not add that to my arsenal as well, you know?”
What’s your reach as compared to your height? Are you a 6-5 or 6-6 guy, with your reach?
“I’m not even sure. All I can really tell you is, UCF told me that I was No. 1 for the longest wingspan.”
Talk about UCF Defensive Ends Coach Kenny Ingram.
“Great guy all-around. It’s not even just about football with him. It’s more than that. The (UCF) players, when I was on my official visit, (they) were telling me how he would have prayer sessions before they get started with the football talk.
He’s an all-around great guy. He always keeps it real. He never lies to a kid. Never raises his voice; you never see him curse. Just more all-around down to earth. He’s a fun guy to be around. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for me in the future.”
What about Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach, Travis Williams?
“Coach T-Will. He’s an all-around energetic coach, you know. Everytime you see him he’s always smiling, he always has high energy in him. He never gives you a dull moment. He’s all-around a good coach, too.”
First thoughts about Gus Malzahn when you had the opportunity to meet him on the UCF campus?
“Very straightforward. He’s another coach that always has a smile on his face. You know, he’s a great guy. Great coach. You know his background from being at Auburn so you already know what he can bring to the table.
“He handles the team well from what I’ve seen. You know, he’s another coach that, he means what he says. He doesn’t lie to you, he always keeps it real with you. I like the guy.”
What do you think about the facilities at UCF? Please compare them to any other institution that you’ve visited.
“Um, they're more of a low key, but they are built very well. You’d never really know that UCF has the stuff that they have. Coach Malzahn, you know, he’s planning on changing some stuff around a little bit for the program, too. By the time I get there, stuff will probably look different.”
“UCF has more space,” Johnson said of comparing the two football facilities. “There’s more room to walk around at UCF.”
“I wouldn’t say it’s tiny, but Miami’s weight room is not as big as you would think it is,” Johnson said of Miami’s weight room.
“UCF is bigger (in person) than what you see on social media.”
Talk about playing in South Florida.
“You know, there’s a bunch of talent that’s down in South Florida. So, every time you come down to South Florida you think of football and the high school teams. I personally feel like, when you come down to South Florida just be ready to compete because there’s a lot of big names down here.
“There’s a good group of guys. There’s a lot of solid position units, and all-around, when you come down here, it’s a lot of fun.”
Johnson is a really down to earth young man that is happy for the opportunity to play college football, and he’s really excited about joining UCF. Perhaps most of all, he believes in the UCF coaching staff. That much was obvious.
UCF landed a really good defensive end prospect with Johnson. He’s going to be a player UCF utilizes to build its defensive line.