DRAVANNTI JOHNSON, LB, 6-1.5, 220, 4.6, NEDERLAND , TEXAS:
Dravannti Johnson has been one of those players that people in his part of the world have been talking about since his sophomore year. So it is no surprise that he is now regarded as one of the top linebackers in the state of Texas going into his senior year.
Playing both defensive end and linebacker, Johnson broke onto the Texas high school football scene his sophomore year when he made 90 tackles and four sacks. This past season, Johnson had 81 tackles, six sacks, six tackles for loss and he forced six fumbles en route to earning first team all-district honors.
Johnson has been one of the best players on the field since the first time he stepped on a high school field, and now that people are recognizing him as one of the best players in Texas he is ready to prove everybody right.
"Looking back two years ago, I loved to get on sites with Scout and I used to look at that stuff all time and I still do," said Johnson. "I would think, 'Man, I hope I can get on that site one day.' So now that I am on there it is pretty cool looking back. I love being named the No. 1 linebacker in the state. I have been to the combines and I have faced my competition, and I feel like I have done pretty well. I have shown everybody what I can do.
"I have been named the No. 1 linebacker in the state and I am going to try to hold onto my turf. That is something that I want to hold onto. There is a lot of pressure to be named the best, but I like the pressure and I like the attention. I just have to strive off of it."
Johnson has played a great deal at defensive end his first two years at Nederland, especially in pass rushing situations. However, he expects to play more outside linebacker this season and having his best season yet.
"When I am at linebacker I just make more plays," said Johnson. "At defensive end, I have to be able to handle offensive linemen. I have to be physical with them and I have to know how to use my hands and explosion. When I play linebacker, I already know the techniques to take on an offensive linemen. Plus, with my speed and quickness I can get around offensive linemen or go through them. I can run from sideline to sideline and make plays."
While Johnson is a great guy to talk to and a very pleasant guy off the field, coaches tell this reporter that he plays with an angry attitude at linebacker. It is that attitude that separates him from most others on the field.
"When I get to the ball carrier I am going to make sure he feels me," said Johnson. "I love making the big hit. I love making them cry and making them get up and go out of the game. When I make a play, I want them to feel it."
Johnson wants the chance to blitz more at linebacker because thus far in his career most of his sacks have come when he is playing defensive end.
"Most of my sacks come when I am at D-end pass rushing," said Johnson. "When a quarterback tries to scramble, I usually chase him behind the line. You can watch my film, I chase down the quarterbacks. That is where most of my sacks come from, but now that I am going to play more linebacker I want to be good off the blitz. I think I will be very good off the blitz and have just as much more even more success."
Johnson committed to Texas A&M during the Aggies' Junior Day back in February, but as we roll into April is Johnson still a solid commitment to the Aggies.
"I would say that my commitment has got a little softer," said Johnson. "In looking around I got to talking to the other coaches again, and I really feel I am an outside linebacker. I played well in space, and that is what I have always done. I know that A&M is hyping me up more as a middle guy, but I did commit to them and I still consider myself committed to A&M. At the same time, I won't feel complete until I make sure there is nothing out there that I am missing. I am not going to open my recruiting up all the way, but I may take in just a few schools that I feel I may want to look at."
Thus far ,Johnson has been offered by Texas A&M, UTEP, Baylor, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Washington and Arkansas. Johnson says he is waiting on LSU and Florida, and he also has great thoughts on Oklahoma .
"Oklahoma would be the school right now if I was to leave A&M. They would be the school that I would go to," said Johnson. "I really like talking to Coach (Brent) Venables and the Oklahoma coaches. He just tells me the facts and talks to me straight up, and everything that he says is true. I like the fact that OU wins consistently. You can't deny that. OU produces defensive players as a team and as individuals. They play the style of defense that I feel that I fit into. I am going to go out there and visit this summer, check it all out and see what they have to offer."
Johnson says he has never been to Oklahoma, but that he may attend the OU summer camp. He also says if he's not able to attend the summer camp, then he may come up for an unofficial visit at some poitn in the summer. Johnson alsos says he wants to be dead set on what he wants to do before the start of his senior season.
"I may take an official visit to one or two schools," said Johnson. "I am going to take a trip or two this summer, but I want to play my senior year knowing where I am going to go. I don't want to have to worry about all this in the summer. You think about a lot of things during your recruitment, so I want to get it over with before my senior year. I will try to make one or two trips this summer to some camps, or I will just go there to check them out."
Johnson can bench 315 pounds and squats 425. He starts in basketball and participates in track. He is on the 4X100 and 4X200 relay as well as the open 200M.