Isaiah Johnson Making the Most of Opportunity

Running backs Charles Perkins and BJ Bostic and safety Isaiah Johnson were three of the top rated players in the 2010 recruiting class at Georgia Tech. All three made a decision to enroll early. We talked to Isaiah Johnson in the first of three stories about the early enrollees.

Sandy Creek safety Isaiah Johnson was one of the first players that the Georgia Tech staff targeted when they had their initial Junior Day. After Isaiah made Georgia Tech his college choice, he also decided to enroll early. Johnson had some motivation in making that decision. "Most people don't know this but I heard Charles Perkins say he was coming in early and I said this is an opportunity for me to come in early and compete with other players."

Another advantage for Johnson has been getting acclimated to college life. Coming in for the winter semester Johnson could adjust without a heavy football workload. "I'm already acclimated with the academics and now I'm getting acclimated with football."

Coach Paul Johnson made wholesale changes on the defensive side of the ball following last season. This has also turned out to be an advantage for Isaiah. "Everyone is starting and learning together with the new staff, said Isaiah "We're all in the same boat."

As spring practice moved forward, Johnson got some reps with the first unit and coaches and fans alike have begun to take notice of his performance. This is something Johnson felt he had a chance to do coming into the spring. "You have to believe," said Johnson. "I'm ready to make plays and that's what the coaches want and that's what I'm going to give them."

Isaiah has begun to make a reputation for himself as a big hitter. Was he that way in high school? Most people that watched him in high school felt that was the case. "Everybody knows I stay ball alert and they know I can come up and make the hit."

Johnson's spring performance has been helped by some individual work with Coach Charles Kelly. "Me and Coach Kelly have been tight since I first met him," said Johnson. "We had a good relationship before I got here and now I'm also trying to get closer to Coach (Al) Groh." Johnson and Kelly sit down in Kelly's office for one on one sessions and go over things that he needs to work on and improve.

Isaiah likes the idea of having Coach Kelly coaching the entire secondary. He feels it's an advantage for everyone because the corners and safeties have to work together. Both the corners and the safeties now hold their meetings as one group. "In the meetings if a corner wants to ask me a question, I'll be right there to give him an answer instead of later on when they may forget."

Johnson's spring performance showed everyone that he'll be one of the freshmen that have a chance to make an impact in the upcoming season. "I'm looking forward to making big plays," said Johnson. "What I really want is to get the ball in my hands by picking it off, stripping the ball, and getting any loose balls while I'm out there." Those that have watched him this spring feel he'll have many chances to do just that.


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