There's a reason LSU defensive tackle Anthony Johnson has been nicknamed "The Freak," and it has nothing to do with his looks. Rather, it's his freakish athletic ability which he displays out on the football field.
Standing at 6'3" 310 pounds, Johnson's stature isn't one of a player you would think would be quick on his feet. But the fact that this kid can run a 4.8 40-yard dash with that body structure makes you realize what a freak of nature he truly is.
Johnson is big, even for a defensive tackle, and he is fast. Those two words go together about as often as "hot fudge sundae" and "zero calories."
Yet here is Johnson, getting ready to enter his sophomore year at LSU, and already projected to be not only a starter, but an impact player on arguably the top defensive line in all of college football.
To give you an idea of just how good this kid is, take a trip down memory lane back to his prep football days at O.P. Walker High School. While there, Johnson shattered the Louisiana career sack record with 67.5 sacks. He was ranked as a 5-star prospect and the top defensive tackle in the country by every major recruiting service in 2010.
Johnson gave a verbal commitment to Tennessee during his sophomore year, before backing out and finally siding with Les Miles and the Tigers back in December of 2009. Despite the depth on the Tigers' defensive line last year, Johnson was simply too good to keep off the field. He didn't start any games as a freshman, but he was a key member of the defensive line unit, recording 12 tackles, a sack and three tackles-for-loss.
With Brockers off to the NFL, Johnson will be the main focus of the Tigers' interior defensive line this season. He will join standout defensive ends Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo to form what many believe could be one of the best defensive lines not only this year, but in the past decade.
But surprisingly, Johnson's entire life doesn't just consist of barreling through offensive linemen and hunting down opposing quarterbacks. The 6'3", 310-pound man child also has some vocal talent. Johnson was a member of the O.P. Walker High School choir and also sang the National Anthem before some of his high school football games. He also displayed his singing skills at times during LSU team meetings.
This is just another skill that goes to show what a truly talented individual Johnson truly is.
We have seen so many occasions where top-ranked players get caught up in the moment and subsequently waste away their future. With an abundance of talent and a popular nickname to show for it, I think we can all say with confidence that Johnson isn't waiting a single minute.