19 Players in 19 Days: Matthew Johnson

The fifth in our series covering the 19 commitments for the Ball State Football Class of 2014.

The old adage that a high school team will always stick their best athlete at QB certainly held true for Lafayette Jeff last year, and that is saying something at Lafayette Jeff.

Matthew Johnson, a 5-11 180 athlete, worked as a QB last season for the Bronchos and played some at DB, a position he never had played before last season, but a position he will play in college.

Johnson certainly has the speed and athleticism to make the transition work. Johnson is one of the fastest men in not only the state, but all of college football. As a prep senior, he not only won the Indiana State 100m dash, but he also smoked the competition at the Ball State Camp AND the Alabama Football Camp in the fastest man competition. That friends, is fast. The reported 4.37 40 time is no joke. It is legit.

Strengths: As he develops into a defensive back, he will have his athletic skills to fall back on. Like I said before, Johnson has prolific speed, but he also has flexible hips and the ability to change directions and accelerate quickly. His closing speed is amazing. Oh, and he is not afraid of contact. So, the sky is the limit with this young man.

What He Needs to Work On: There is a lot. A handful of high school games at DB and some 1 on 1's in camp does not a D1 defensive back make. What he will need to do is accept coaching and realize the work he has ahead of him. He has a steep learning curve, especially compared to others in the secondary that have been playing the position for years, but he has the talent and athletic gifts to be something special.

What to Expect This Coming Season: He will certainly be a redshirt at this time. Coach Pete Lembo and the staff cannot five up a year of eligivility for Matthew just to get him some special teams reps. He needs coaching, and he needs practice reps. He needs time before he hits the field. A year off, in the weight room, in the film room and in practice will do absolutely wonders down the road for this young man. But stay tuned, he could be a good one.


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