Johnson holding four offers

Things are about to take off for this balanced defensive end from Manvel (Texas). Taiwan Johnson is claiming four offers, but defensive ends that are equally good at stopping the run as they are rushing the quarterback are hard to find and more offers are sure to follow. What does Johnson think about one of his most recent offers from Nebraska?

Manvel (Texas) defensive end Taiwan Johnson is starting to get a little fired up. Spring practices are around the corner and he is looking to avenge a tough loss that ended a very good season for him and his team last year.

"Spring practices start for us in the beginning of May," Johnson said. "I am looking forward to just being around my team and being able to play football again after a tough loss at the end of the year last year.

"We need to build this back up again. We lost in the playoffs last year in the fourth round to LaMarque which is a district rival. We lost to them for a second time and that one really hurt."

Johnson says that he is ready to step up when it comes to taking on that senior leadership role. He wants his team to know that he is in the fight with them.

"Stepping into a leadership role is great and it's a great responsibility to have your teammates look up to you. The biggest thing that I want to do is uplift my team mates. When things go wrong I want to give them advice and let them know I am with them."

Offenses have to try and figure out where Johnson is at on the field because he could be in a two point or a three point stance. When he's in a three point he could also be lined up at end or down at tackle.

"It really depends what kind of defense we are running. In certain packages I am standing up and in certain packages in down. It will range where I line up on the line too when I am down from end all the way to defensive tackle."

Johnson says when it comes to feeling the most natural on defense that he feels best at defensive end and that's what schools are recruiting him to play. Johnson says that he can stop the run and rush the quarterback equally well.

"I feel comfortable at defensive end, but I love standing out. You get better open field range doing that. College teams though are looking at me to play defensive end.

"I have good hand power and I have an ability to run down running backs and hold the edge. I am a run stopper and a great pass rusher. I get after the quarterback and I can collapse the pocket."

Johnson is already sitting on four offers with the most recent just coming this past weekend. He is also thinking that at least a couple of other schools could be really close to offering.

"I have four offers. My offers are from Kansas State, Rice, Arkansas and Nebraska. The first offer I received was from Kansas State and I just picked up the offer from Nebraska on Saturday.

"I think that Texas Tech and possibly Texas A&M are close to offering. I went to the junior day at Texas as well as the junior day at A&M and UT-San Antonio."

The Nebraska offer is one that Johnson might not have expected before he got it. He's become a bit of a fan of Nebraska the past few years and particularly around the time when a certain defensive tackle was dominating in Lincoln.

"When I got that offer I was happy. Nebraska has been one of my favorites since I was a freshman in high school or when I started even thinking about playing college football. I thought it would always be cool to play for Nebraska's football team.

"I didn't think that I could ever play for them. I mean they had Ndamukong Suh on their team. Reality is hitting fast. I can actually play for Nebraska. The recruiting coach for Nebraska has told me about the Blackshirts and I would love to wear a Blackshirt. Their tradition is great."

Johnson mentioned that his recruiting coach is Coach Rich Fisher who is new to the staff at Nebraska. Johnson said he is looking forward to talking to Coach John Papuchis who coaches defensive ends soon.

Johnson had a solid junior year finishing his season with 61 tackles of which 25 were solos and 36 were assisted. Johnson also had seven sacks and a fumble recovery.

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