Georgia Football: Toby Johnson Could Pay Immediate Dividends for the Bulldogs

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterFebruary 20, 2013

Georgia DT signee Toby Johnson / Photo:
Georgia DT signee Toby Johnson / Photo:

National signing day came and went two weeks ago, but Georgia got some good news in the class of 2013 on Tuesday when Toby Johnson, a 4-star junior college defensive tackle from Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College, committed to play for the Bulldogs.

Johnson chose the Bulldogs over Auburn, Mississippi State and Oklahoma. The 6'4", 310-pounder tore his ACL in November, but is rehabbing well and should contribute immediately between the hedges.

As our Andrew Kulha points out, Johnson has the size to play nose tackle, but has impressive speed and quickness for a big guy and can fit in at defensive end in Georgia's 3-4 scheme. He's also a player that the Bulldogs desperately needed.

Head coach Mark Richt and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham lost four key contributors off of last year's defensive line: defensive tackles John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers, and defensive ends Abry Jones and Cornelius Washington.

Garrison Smith should step in and become a force at defensive end, after the rising senior emerged as a force in Jones' absence last season. But aside from Smith, there's playing time to be had.

According to, Georgia had fallen behind Auburn and Mississippi State in the race for Johnson. His relationship with Auburn associate head coach Rodney Garner and comfort with the Mississippi State staff were both well-documented prior to national signing day.

But when Chris Wilson left Mississippi State to take the defensive line coach position in Athens, Georgia crept back into the picture, and it was enough to get Johnson's signature nearly two weeks after national signing day.

The move is similar to the one that brought John Jenkins to Athens two years ago. Also a 4-star defensive tackle prospect from junior college, Jenkins was brought in specifically to fill an immediate need on Georgia's defensive line.

That worked out well for Georgia and for Jenkins, as he was an integral piece of back-to-back SEC East title teams and will likely be a first-round draft pick in this year's NFL draft. 

Johnson and Georgia fans are hoping that history repeats itself.