Tyreke Johnson (Blair Angulo)

Gators among five standing out for 5-star CB Tyreke Johnson

With so many defensive backs headed to the NFL from the University of Florida, there is no wonder why top DBs continue to look at the Gators. Tyreke Johnson is one of the best in the 2018 class and has the Gators in his top group of schools he is interested in as we continue through the 2018 cycle.

Three programs closer to home have certainly piqued the interest of Tyreke Johnson, yet there is one from the other side of the country that could have as good a shot as any to land the coveted signature.

The five-star cornerback from Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian Academy plans to visit longtime contender UCLA this spring and knows he would also like to get out to Los Angeles for an official visit during the season, while Florida, Georgia and LSU continue to make a push to keep him closer to home.

"UCLA is definitely going to get an official," Johnson said at the adidas 7v7 National Championship. "I plan on going down there again. Me and my mom have been talking and looking at flights for some time during April for spring practice."

http://www.scout.com/player/187713-tyreke-johnson

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound prospect said academics would be a big factor in his decision, so the Bruins are appealing in that regard on top of what he's heard from defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin.

"I'm really big on my academics and I feel like there is a lot of opportunity out there, too," Johnson said. "It's a great place for a DB to make it or break it. The Pac-12 can make you or break you; it can exploit your coverage or show everyone that you can cover.

"Coach Meat -- that dude is a genius. What's the corner's name this year? Fabian (Moreau) from Florida. Guy had never played corner in high school, only running back. He went out there, did his thing and now look at him. I pay attention to stuff like that."

Johnson said he has another visit in mind for this spring.

"Ohio State -- that's a big one," Johnson said. "I love Ohio State. Shaun Wade is out there and I love how much they have fun. I've seen the video on Twitter where they've got the dunk contest. They just seem like they've got fun and the coaches just show them a good time and treat them like family."

The in-state Gators have been making their case for quite some time and Johnson said he's a fan of how the defensive backs there operate.

"Well, I love Florida's defense, they play with a lot of energy and they've got a thing called swagger that a lot of schools just don't have any more," Johnson said. "They're playing hungry, they're attacking every ball, they're excited and cheering for each other, and they're very exciting to watch."

With the Bulldogs, head coach Kirby Smart's history as a defensive mastermind is something Johnson can't overstate.

"Kirby is a defensive guru and he was under (Nick) Saban for a long time and that shows a lot," he said. "I feel like he also has the ties to put me in the NFL and that 2017 recruiting class is amazing."

Johnson has a connection to LSU and that could also play an important role down the stretch given the comfort level.

"Somebody who is like my older brother, Kevin Toliver, played at Trinity and he took me under his wing," Johnson said. "He tells me they want me a lot and that coach (Corey) Raymond wants me, and I feel like LSU is a great school where I could focus on football and bettering myself."

Those are five standouts heading into the spring, but USC and Stanford are two others that Johnson said he would keep looking into. Johnson plans to be a mid-year enrollee so he's on track to make a decision late this year or early in 2018.


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