UCF Commitment Profile: Defensive End Jamaal Johnson

Jamaal Johnson is a talented defensive end from South Florida that committed to play for UCF football.
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Jamaal Johnson, DE, 6’2”, 250-pounds, Miramar (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna

Rankings Scale:

5.0 - National Top 25

4.5 - National Top 50

4.0 - National Top 100

3.5 - National Top 250

3.0 - National Top 500

2.5 - National Top 1000

Inside The Knights Grade for Jamaal Johnson: 3.0 (Top 250 Player)

Upside Grade: 4.0

Offers: UCF, Indiana, Pittsburgh, Boston College, Georgia Tech, South Florida, FlU, Minnesota, Iowa State, Kentucky, Miami, USF, Southern Miss, Syracuse, Utah State, and West Virginia.

Recruited by: Kenny Ingram and Travis Williams.

Recruiting Rankings:

247: 3-star, No. 99 Defensive End, and No. 85 in Florida

ESPN: 3-Star, No. 254 in Region, No. 79 in Florida, and No. 54 Defensive End

Rivals: 3-Star, Unranked Nationally, unranked in Florida

Composite: 3-Star, No. 815 Overall, No. 115 Defensive End, and No. 115 in Florida

Strengths: Length, bend, powerful hips, open-field lateral pursuit, hands that deliver a blow, intelligence, and the ability to mix up pass rushing moves and technique.

Areas to improve: Continue to advance first-step explosive movements out of three-point stance, and develop hand technique even further.

Prospect Analysis

Johnson is a thick, powerfully built young man with long arms and good hand-eye coordination. With his build and perceptive skill, he’s adept at using his hips and legs to counter from power-to-speed with the help of his hands. Here’s an example.

When on the edge, Johnson does a fantastic job of moving inside-out. Hitting the offensive lineman with a clean shot to the midsection, then transitioning his inside hand to rip past the outside shoulder of the offensive tackle. Johnson’s quickness and leverage win out from there.

Johnson’s rip move would also be his staple move. He bends well off the edge after gaining leverage towards the outside shoulder, dips his hips from outside-in, and keeps consistent pressure on the offensive tackle. 

Johnson’s strength allows him to stay on track towards the quarterback despite the offensive tackle attempting to push him away. It’s a classic pass rushing move that works well with defensive ends that possess the raw leverage and strength that Johnson does. As for quickness, Johnson oftentimes goes towards the interior to make use of that skill.

The skills to set up deceptive moves to gain penetration into the backfield goes beyond pass rushing. It’s football intelligence combined with hard work and athleticism. Johnson will give an outside jab step and come back inside with a rip move to the A gap or B gap, and then finish the play with a tackle for loss or sack. It served him well during his junior season, and this following play is a fantastic example.

Another area that Johnson excels would be breaking down to make a play in space. Unlike most 250 pound defenders, Johnson will sink his hips and keep his balance before truly heading towards an athletic running back, quarterback or wide receiver. This lends to his football intelligence once again, and that’s when his length takes over.

Despite being a shorter defensive end, Johnson’s reach is tremendous. He will run down a running back with technique and effort for sure, but the final steps will be aided by Johnson’s long arms. Those same arms help him gain an advantage versus offensive tackles and tight ends as well.

Looking at Johnson’s long-term pass rushing ability there’s much to like. Once he solidifies his hand technique by working with the Chaminade-Madonna coaching staff further, he should really keep offensive tackles guessing. The hard work paid off to date, and Johnson enjoys improving his craft. That’s an important aspect of improving as a defensive end as well. Johnson wants to be really good.

The one additional area to consider about Johnson playing college football is possibly moving to three technique during obvious passing downs. He will be too quick for most offensive guards, and his athleticism will be an asset to shoot gaps and create havoc in the backfield.

Overall, Johnson is a valuable defensive end prospect. He’s powerful, technical, provides good balance, uses his football instincts to make plays, and he’s versatile. Johnson is going to be a very good college football player.

Junior Highlights