Photo by Jason Caldwell

Alabama recruiting in-state defensive lineman Ryan Johnson hard

Ryan Johnson was one of many blue chip recruits at Alabama for A-Day weekend and the Crimson Tide stressed how important he is in the class of 2017.

Four-star Mobile (Ala.) St. Paul's defensive lineman Ryan Johnson has been to Alabama plenty as a top recruit but Saturday's A-Day visit showed him how his position works inside and out.

"I was able to see how they prepare more," he said. "I was trying to see how the D-line works together, spend time with the coaches and players in the D-line room and seeing how everything is looking. 

"Seeing the first team D-line work together I saw how good they are going to be this season. They project me as a 6-technique, they kind of see me as a player such as Ryan Anderson from Daphne (Ala.). Seeing what he's done these last couple of years, for them to compare me to him means a lot."

Johnson has long held a Crimson Tide offer and he says the staff has been recruiting him heavily of late.

"They stressed the fact to me that if I came in yesterday (Saturday) and played with them, I could have been a two (second-team), at least," he said. "So they're definitely showing me I can play as a freshman, which I know I can. Going to a school like that and being able to play as a freshman would mean a lot. The quicker you get on the field, the quicker you learn the game and get your name out there."

The effort to court one of the top in-state prospects has started at the top with Nick Saban.

"They were stressing it, pulling out all the stops," Johnson said of the push. "They definitely want me bad but I told them I'm going to have to wait it out, talk to my family, pray about it and hope for the best. Ryan Anderson committed on A-Day, actually, they were saying I reminded them of that. I was enjoying it but I couldn't pull the trigger because I'm not ready to choose the school I'm going to yet.

"But he doesn't really have to sell the school because he is Nick Saban, one of the best in the last 10 years. He's stressing the academic side of things and going into the field of where they see me playing and how I can be an immediate impact. That shows a lot. I got to spend some time with him, talk to him more and get to know him more." 

With many visits to Tuscaloosa in the books and familiarity all around, there's a certain level of comfort at UA he wants with other programs on a growing list.

"I'm pretty comfortable there," he said. "I know people there. Going to a place where I know people will help me out. Knowing things before I set foot on campus is a great thing."

Johnson is planning on visiting USC, which recently offered him a scholarship, as well as Notre Dame this summer. He'll compete at The Opening Charlotte this coming weekend.

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