Johnson Uses Redshirt Year to Grow, Develop

True freshman linebacker Terrell Johnson, like so many of this year's freshmen, redshirted this season. And he used his time to grow and develop ... literally.

"I came in at 6-1 and 208. Right now, I'm 6-2 and 228," said the likeable youngster. "And I added four inches to my vertical leap which is now 32 and I give myself a good 4.5 to 4.6 (forty)."

And MSU head man Sylvester Croom liked what he saw from Johnson and expects good things from him.

"Terrell is a very good athlete," said Croom. "The great thing is we were able to redshirt him which allowed him to grow and develop. That gives him a chance, when he finally gets to play in SEC competition, to play with confidence."

But growing wasn't the only thing he did during his redshirt season. He also did his best to learn from the talented group of veteran linebackers on the Bulldog roster.

"It's been a pretty good experience because I learned a lot from my fellow linebackers," said Johnson. "They are teaching me the ropes. I learned this year that I need to stay low and be physical. Those are the first things that everybody taught me - stay low and be physical every play. I'm pretty much getting it down pat.

"Now, I'm just waiting for spring practice so I can show what I'm about. I want to go in and show the coaches that I'm ready. And I know they will give me that chance."

So, what's he all about?

"I'm about football," said Johnson. "And I bring speed and hitting ability."

As for where he expects to line up when spring practice starts, Johnson said, "I'm at SAM. (Current starter) Gabe (O'Neal) is a senior so the position will be open. That's a chance for me to prove myself."

And in about a month he'll have that chance.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the sports network. You can contact him by email at

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