Johns Wants to Play Early, at Quarterback

For understandable reasons, there are a couple of questions Jimmy Johns seemed almost to dread in a press gathering Monday afternoon marking the official report date of Alabama's 105-man roster.

Do you expect to redshirt?

Do you think you'll move to defense?

One followed the other. What is important to note, however, is that the questions are not intended in any way as criticism.

The first is raised strictly because of the circumstances at quarterback, his desired position, and what the Tide coaching staff recruited him as. Brodie Croyle is the undisputed starter, while Johns' fellow true freshman John Parker Wilson has a year and 20-practice head start on the other two newcomer QBs.

Of course Johns only has to look back at Alabama's signal-calling situation over the past two seasons to understand that two quarterbacks isn't always enough, and the battle for No. 3 should be fairly open if Wilson hangs onto the back-up role.

"Everybody coming in here expects to play," Jimmy Johns said. "If I get out there and try my hardest and perform like I think I can perform, I don't think I'll redshirt."

"I basically know all the plays, it's just the point of putting the ball on time and adjusting to the speed."

Johns came to Tuscaloosa earlier than most freshman. He began learning the ropes at Alabama in early June, and had time to tag along with the starter to pick up what he could.

"When I first came that's all I was doing, staying with Brodie, trying to get him to teach me everything," Johns said. "Evidently he's not going to show me all the tricks and trends he picked up, but Brodie taught me a lot."

The question about swapping sides of the ball is also a compliment, because what first jumps out is his solid and athletic 6-3, 235-pound frame.

He said he tries to dish out blows rather than take them as a quarterback, demonstrating that in his stellar performance in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic week. So what about the possibility of helping shore up the other side if circumstances ever dictate?

"That'll probably be a game-time decision," he said. "I feel like - if I can play wherever they want to play me, defintely I'll play it. But that's something I haven't given thought to. I'm not worried about it right now.


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