Johnson Among Best Junior Linebackers

Dravannti Johnson is very goal oriented. Whether it comes to football, getting bigger and stronger, or excelling in the classroom, the Nederland High (Texas) junior defensive end/linebacker sets the bar high for himself, and expects to achieve.

He usually does.

That attitude and drive has Dravannti Johnson's name included among the nation's best linebackers in the 2008 recruiting class. He already has scholarship offers from Texas Tech and UTEP. He thinks offers from Oklahoma State and Texas A&M are coming soon.

"I talk to them regularly," Johnson said.

Johnson receives mail on a regular basis from several other programs, including letters from Notre Dame.

"(Assistant coach) Michael Haywood was by here last spring," Nederland head coach Larry Neumann said.

"I know that they contacted my coach to get some film on me," Johnson said. "They probably should be getting in touch with me soon. If not I'll probably get in touch with them."

On film, Haywood and company are watching a player that lines up at both defensive end and outside linebacker. A ball hawk, the 6-foot-2 220-pound Johnson had 81 tackles including six for loss. He had six forced fumbles in helping lead Nederland into the second round of the Texas state playoffs. He was named all-district and to the Golden Triangle Super Team (basically all-region). The all-state teams have yet to be named.

As a sophomore, Johnson had 90 tackles, 24 for loss with three sacks.

"At end, I get off the ball fast, speed rush and use my speed off the ball," said Johnson. His father played linebacker at Texas Tech. "At linebacker I just chase the ball and make plays."

"He can do a lot of different things," Neumann stated. "We've played him at tight end at times. He is like the rest of our players very unselfish. He'll do what we ask him to do to help us be the best football team we can be and achieve the goals we can achieve.

"He has good quickness, good feet, agile, very athletic guy."

Johnson said he wants to attend a school that has tradition on the football field and in the classroom. He recognized Notre Dame as that. That's why, if he doesn't hear from Notre Dame soon, he said he will contact recruiting coordinator and assistant coach Rob Ianello.

Johnson said he has a 3.57 GPA and wants to be a pre-med major of some kind.

"I've looked at them," Johnson said. "I know they are interested in me, and I know they watched some of my film.

"They've always been a great school, they've always had a great tradition and winning tradition."

Johnson has put himself on the map nationally with strong combine performances before his junior season. He has been to camps at UTEP, Houston, LSU and Texas A&M. His next chance to shine will be at the U.S. Army All-American combine Jan. 4-6 in San Antonio, where he said he‘ll be attending.

He said his best numbers are a high 4.6 in the 40-yard dash. He can bench press 315 pounds and squat 420 pounds. Johnson doesn't play any other sports, focusing on football year round. He has numbers in mind he wants to reach by next fall.

"I'd like to get my weight to 230 pounds, and get down to a high 4.5 in the 40, and get my bench as close as I can to 400, and try to get to a 500 squat."

"I think his potential is a lot greater than what he has performed to at this time," Neumann said. "I think his physical potential is a lot more. He is really good now, but I think his upside is extremely large. He has a chance to be really special before he finishes high school and before he finishes college."

Johnson has never been anywhere other than Texas and Louisiana. He said he'd certainly be up for a trip to South Bend, Ind.

"If they are recruiting me hard," Johnson stated. "If I talk to them more and they are talking about offering me, I'd talk about going up there."

There is one more thing about Johnson.

"I may end up committing somewhere early, but I'm still going to look around and take visits," he said. "My options will be open until signing day."

Notre Dame could end up being the right option. Top Stories