Size: 6-foot-1, 295 pounds
Hometown: Byrnes, S.C
School: Butler County CC
Position: Defensive Tackle
Committed: January 17, 2012
CC Career Highlights:
Johnson transferred from Butler County Community College where earned first-team All-Jayhawk Conference honors as a sophomore. On the season, he recorded 27 total tackles, including 7.0 tackles-for-loss and 3.0 sacks. He also tallied a forced fumble, recovered a fumble and broke up one pass.
Coach Tracy Claeys' Take:
"Roland Johnson comes from the Kansas junior colleges. He'll be here in the summer. He has to graduate this spring. Very high motor. I had the opportunity to fly out there during the season and watch him play in a game. He's a type, a high-motor guy, that we've got to have in order to put pressure on the quarterback. Loves playing the game.
"I really think with the losses that we had in the defensive line, he'll really help us right away in the middle and have that opportunity to play. People will enjoy to watch him play because of how hard he plays."
The thing that stands out the most when watching Johnson is his relentlessness – his feet never stop moving as he engages offensive linemen and uses his lower body strength to continue pushing up field, at times even fighting through double teams. He has a good first step, comes off the ball low and uses his hands well to keep blockers away from him, which allows him to find the ball quickly and make plays in the backfield.
Johnson also shows very good athleticism for a defensive lineman. He has enough speed to run down ball carriers and moves laterally very well too, especially when doing twists and stunts at the line. But where his athleticism is really on display is when he is used in pass coverage during zone blitzes, dropping back from his DL position to cover underneath zones.
He flips his hips and gets into his zone with ease, looking more like a linebacker than a defensive lineman. On one play he got his hands on a receiver running through his zone and did much more than just disrupt his route – he blasted the receiver and knocked him to the ground.
When he is not dropping into coverage, Johnson does a great job of applying pressure to the quarterback, rushing from his usual spot at defensive tackle or at times from the defensive end position. He uses several techniques effectively to get past blockers – a swim move, a bull rush, or a spin off. He seems to have excellent awareness when rushing the QB, getting to the QB's depth and then spinning back underneath to make the play rather than rushing too far up field.
Overall, Johnson seems to be a player with excellent size, strength, and athleticism, and a high motor to go along with it. He should be a great addition to the defensive line in Minnesota.