Mobile, Ala.--The Auburn Tigers are focusing on signing a smaller defensive line class in 2017 than last year’s impressive haul, but that doesn’t mean it will be short on talent. One of the players Coach Rodney Garner is targeting is four-star Ryan Johnson from St. Paul’s.
Back on the Plains last weekend to spend time with the coaching staff, current players on the roster as well as other prospects, Johnson said it was another good visit for him because there was no pressure about committing or a sales pitch. Instead, it was more about just having a good time.
“It was big because you can kind of see the more laid back side of the university and how the coaches are, not having to be on a strict schedule,” Johnson said of the War Damn BBQ. “Just being laid back with you and the players kind of telling you how everything goes on, it was great.”
The visit allowed Johnson to hang out with players from the Mobile area that he knows very well. Auburn linebacker Tre Williams played at St. Paul’s, DeShaun Davis and walk-on quarterback Devin Adams both played at Vigor while freshman linebacker Tre Threat started out at St. Paul’s before transferring across the bay to Spanish Fort.
Getting to spend time with all of them was a highlight of the trip, Johnson pointed out. He said that is something that stands out about the Tigers as does Garner’s plans of rotating multiple defensive linemen during a game.
“That’s a big thing that they stress the issue that I’m a priority for them,” Johnson said. “They kind of expect me to come in from day one and contribute and that’s my plan as well so if I can come in and give it my all and hopefully play a lot my freshman year, that’s the plan.”
Ryan Johnson is rated four stars as Scout's No. 15 ranked defensive end for the 2017 signee class.
With plans to visit Auburn officially as well as Alabama and Stanford at the moment, Johnson said he’s not sure of the exact date he willl be back on the Plains for an official visit, but knows one trip he wil make early in the season.
“They’re still in my top schools,” Johnson said. “I’ll be up for the Auburn-Clemson game. I’m not sure when I’m taking my official, but they’re definitely a school (he’ll visit).”
Before his trip to Auburn, Johnson traveled to Tuscaloosa to see Alabama in person once again. Also with friends playing for the Crimson Tide, he said he enjoyed the experience.
“It was just laid back as well,” Johnson said of his Alabama visit. “There were a little more people, but that’s not too bad. I just got to meet more people or see people I haven’t seen in a while. Just being able to talk to my former teammate Josh Casher and him telling me how the ropes go was a great time as well.”
With no timetable for a decision Johnson said he could make a decision at any time or carry it all the way until signing day.