Prior Lake (Minn.) High defensive tackle Jamahl Johnson has been working on his quickness and speed, and the newfound focus is paying dividends.
At 6-foot, 300-pounds, Johnson was timed with an impressive 4.90 in the 40-yard dash at Iowa State’s camp during the weekend. The Cyclones are one of the schools showing the most interest in Johnson, who currently holds a South Dakota offer.
“Camp was really good,” Johnson said. “There were a lot of good guys out there and I felt like I picked up a lot of good stuff. After the camp I met with the head coach and he met with my mom and my little brother and he said some good things and had some remarks about how I played at the camp.”
Johnson has drawn interest from Iowa State since the end of his junior season at Prior Lake when running backs coach Louis Ayeni stopped at his school in Minnesota. The Cyclones have shown interest since, and Johnson has vaulted toward the top of the team’s board leading into camp.
His camp performance kept him there.
“They said I’m one of their top defensive linemen on the board and they said they’re not taking too many defensive linemen, they’re taking like three or four, and I was one of the top D-linemen,” Johnson said of his meeting with Paul Rhoads on Friday. “He wanted to evaluate the last camp before he got back to me.”
Johnson has also drawn interest from Minnesota, Iowa and North Dakota State. He camped at Minnesota and Iowa State and is now likely done with camps and visits for the summer before he heads to Georgia to spend time with family in July.
Ultimately, Johnson’s recruitment isn’t expected to end anytime soon. He plans to take his time scheduling official visits before committing down the road.
“I feel like if I commit it would be as close to signing day as [possible], because I feel like I need to really take this into consideration,” Johnson said. “I don’t want to end up being one of those guys who goes to a school and transfers because he didn’t like the school. I’m going to take as much time as I can in choosing my official visits depending on if I want to go there. It probably won’t be any time soon.”
One certainty is that Johnson’s speed work is paying off. At 300 pounds he has cut his 40-yard dash under 5.00 and combined it with a 4.80 pro agility.
“For 300 pounds, that’s pretty good,” Johnson said. “I’m always working on my quickness and my hands and being fast off the ball. That’s what I really work on. It’s an element of surprise to be a bigger guy.”
As for Iowa State, there is mutual interest, but an offer is pending.
“They were extremely interested from the get-go, so that’s what really made me want to come down twice to see them. Coach Louis is super excited,” Johnson said. “Iowa State is awesome. They have amazing facilities. Their weight room is top notch and their training room is huge. Their facilities are great.”