Jaquan Johnson to Miami: Hurricanes Land 4-Star ATH Prospect

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2014

Credit: 247Sports

Jaquan Johnson is staying home. The 4-star prospect committed to the University of Miami on Tuesday, announcing the decision on his Twitter account:

Johnson, a Miami native entering his senior season at the respected Killian High School, had offers from no fewer than 18 major college programs, per 247Sports. He made his decision a little less than two weeks after taking an unofficial visit to South Carolina.

Despite interest from across the country, Miami has been considered a heavy favorite throughout the process. 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions gave the Hurricanes a 91 percent chance of landing him, with Florida being the only other school to receive a vote.

Johnson is already the 23rd player to give Al Golden his commitment in the Class of 2015. He is Golden's sixth 4-star player and is his fourth-best recruit overall, behind fellow Florida products Jordan Scarlett, Mark Walton and Dexter Williams.

One slight problem: Scarlett, Walton and Williams are all running backs—one of the two positions from which Johnson is expected to choose. An all-everything talent throughout his high school career, Johnson is viewed as an athlete by most publications. Though officially listing him as a safety prospect, 247Sports also has running back listed as a possible long-term fit.

If playing time were his biggest concern, Johnson's position may have already been decided the moment he chose Miami. As a defensive back, he understands route concepts and uses his elite speed and fast-twitch quickness to cover receivers well.

His athleticism shines through more on the offensive side of the ball right now. He is an explosive ball-carrier who needs only a small crease to reach the second level of the defense. Lining him up at wide receiver isn't out of the question either; he's played the position (and done so well) in high school. Playing against more difficult competition in the ACC will prove a challenge, but the kid does not lack for confidence. 

“He’s going to in and try to be the man right away,” Killian coach Cory Johnson told Safid Deen and Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald.

Johnson is rawer at safety—being "the man" as a freshman is probably out of the question—but his ceiling is higher. His slight size and strength concerns are less noticeable when he's roaming the back half of the defense. He is also a high-intelligence player and a leader who has been a difference-maker from the moment he stepped on the field at Killian as a freshman. 

The Hurricanes lack elite defensive back talent in their 2015 class, so Johnson will also lack the fierce competition from contemporaries when making the full-time switch to defense. That should help him get the individual attention he needs to start realizing his potential. 

At the very least, he's another starry addition for Golden, who is amassing a solid core of talent. Miami is currently ranked 11th in the 2015 recruiting rankings. Golden has had a top-15 class each of the last three seasons, though never better than 10th. With one or two more recruits on Johnson's level, the Hurricanes might burrow their way back near the top five.

At least on the recruiting trail.


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