In-state four-star edge talent Ryan Johnson sees chance of early playing time at Alabama

Alabama has many common knocks coming from outside sources including the notion that young players won't see the field for Nick Saban. The staff stressed the opposite with Ryan Johnson in town during the week.

Mobile (Ala.) St. Paul's defensive line talent Ryan Johnson has most of the Power 5 offers he's long coveted in the recruiting process and a college commitment  may soon be approaching. The four-star was at Stanford Friday and at Alabama on Monday to take in spring practice.

"I just wanted to see how they practice and how everybody worked out," he said. "To see how everything was ran, how the coaches treated players, taught them and how the players reacted. We saw that, I saw one of my former teammates Joshua Casher and was around the defensive line and coach (Bo) Davis. 

"I saw how aggressive they were, how coach Davis taught them and the need on the line. After that first team, there's not much depth, really. I feel like I can come in, contribute early and cause a positive effect for the team."

The Crimson Tide likes Johnson as either a 5-technique or 6-technique, meaning he can play on the line or standing up within Nick Saban's scheme.

"Either hand down or stand-up linebacker. I'm just trying to see how much weight I put on," he said. "Or I could lose weight and be more tone, so we'll see. I'm trying to put on maybe five more pounds, get to 260, and become faster, stronger. It can allow me to play stand-up D-end, linebacker or both. I can play both, I've been working on the stand-up position a lot lately, I'm better at that."

In sitting down with Saban, not only was his versatility discussed, but the ability to transition it to seeing the field early at the next level, too.

"He was just relaying it over how they want me to pressure the quarterback, inside or outside," Johnson said. "He was really stressing the fact that I can come in and play early depending on how I do and how I fit the system. I definitely can feel the love there, they want me to play for them. But I'm taking things slow, they're definitely in my top group. 

"Alabama is just a great place honestly, I get along with all the coaches. And the opportunity to play early, even though everybody says if you go to 'Bama you won't be able to play early. I can clearly see that if I come in I may be able to play right off the bat or at least my second year. There's opportunity there." 

Johnson, who also holds AuburnLSUNotre DameDuke and others in high regard, said he could make a college commitment before or after the season. 

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