Breaking Down 5-Star OT Dorian Johnson's Skills and Top College Options
Dorian Johnson is a 5-star offensive tackle recruit out of Belle Vernon, Pa., who has still not made a commitment, thus making him one of the more highly sought after recruits in the 2013 class.
Johnson checks in at a very impressive 6'6'', 268 pounds and possesses all the intangibles that a 5-star tackle must have.
His commitment is still up in the air, but 247Sports has Pittsburgh on top of his interest list, followed by Ohio State and then Virginia Tech. Johnson also has offers from other notable programs, including Notre Dame, Nebraska, Michigan State and Alabama, to name a few.
What is it that makes Johnson such a highly touted prospect?
His size is obviously a big factor. He's already got the height you'd look for in an NFL lineman. Now he just needs to continue to put on muscle weight and gain some mass, and that will come with training and experience at the college level.
As far as his abilities right now, Johnson is already a very skilled lineman. He plays with very low pad level and displays excellent push at the point of contact. He gets good leverage, explodes his hips up and extends his hands into his block.
He's deceptively quick for his size, which makes him a good candidate for a pull, and he really stands out in his ability to get to the second level.
His explosion off the line and quickness allows him to get to a linebacker before he's able to fill the gap, and once he gets there, his size and strength allow him to overpower the defender.
In the play below, he's lined up at tackle, and it looks like the offense is running a g-power play. This means the play side guard next to Johnson will pull and kick out the end with the fullback. Johnson's responsibility is to double-team the 5-technique with the tight end and then move onto the Mike linebacker.
Notice how Johnson extends his hands to create leverage on the block and is moving his feet, which allows him to push the double-team backward. He has to be aware of the Mike linebacker, who will start flowing over to the play.
Next he's able to free his left shoulder, which allows him to get off the first block and swiftly move into the second level before the linebacker is able to get into pursuit.
He engages the linebacker, drives his legs and displays a solid base, which gives him power.
Johnson finishes this perfectly executed play with a pancake block, and I expect that's just one of many the big lineman has experienced in his career.
Johnson has the skill set to be a major impact player on the offensive line in college, and that's not a question. There is a question regarding where he will commit, though, and that's what I want to break down next.
The surprising thing here is that even though as a 5-star recruit he can essentially go to any big-time program he wants, Pitt finds themselves on top of his interest list.
The surprise fades when you realize that his hometown of Belle Vernon is just under an hour away from the University of Pittsburgh, so it's rather obvious that proximity and playing for the hometown school is a huge draw for the 5-star recruit.
If not, there's no other logical football reason for Pitt to be beating out the likes of Ohio State or even Virginia Tech for such a talented player.
Where will Johnson commit?
In the end, that will give the Panthers a huge advantage. He has a lot of big-time offers, and he's probably heard many pitches from many top-level recruiters, so the fact that he still prefers Pittsburgh really says a lot about his intentions.
Ohio State will be a sleeper due to Urban Meyer's ability to recruit and the potential dominance of their program, especially with a player like Johnson on board, but if Pittsburgh is really the favorite right now, I can't pick against them in good conscience.
Wherever Johnson does end up, though, I can tell you that I believe he's going to be a great college football player.
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