Past Experience — Johnson skyrocketed up the Rutgers depth chart as a true freshman and quickly asserted him as a starter after line struggles in the first two games of the season. Similarly to Anthony Davis in 2007, Johnson stepped in early as a true freshman and the line as a whole improved after the change.
On his way to Freshman All-America honors at right tackle, Johnson started 11 games for the Scarlet Knights.
As a Recruit — Literally a last-second addition on Signing Day, Johnson picked Rutgers over Louisville and enrolled early in the summer. Ranked as a three-star guard, Johnson was the top offensive lineman to sign with Rutgers in 2011.
Spring Performance — Johnson did not participate in contact drills this spring after recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. He took a full share of mental reps at left tackle as he prepares for his new position and sophomore season on the Banks.
Does Well — Johnson initially projected best as an interior lineman, but his work at right tackle as a true freshman showed coach Kyle Flood he is a capable tackle. At 6-foot-4, 300 pounds, Johnson continues to build the strength and technique necessary to protect his blindside. Johnson has no glaring weaknesses as a pass blocker, which is why Flood trusts him to replace Desmond Wynn at a new position.
Needs to Improve — Johnson has yet to take a single snap at left tackle and is by no means a lock to take over the position this season. The technique is the same as right tackle, but everything is reverse. As Art Forst liked to say, switching sides on the offensive line is like learning to drive in England.
Johnson needs to increase his experience at the position and adjust to the quarterbacks making protection calls under Dave Brock's offensive system.
Long-Term Outlook — There is no doubt that Johnson brings NFL talent to the position. The challenge for Johnson is to not get too comfortable at any position on the offensive line. He could follow the path of Davis, who only got better after a freshman year at right guard. But success as a freshman does not guarantee a successful career. It took Forst three years to get back to what initially worked for him as a starter in 2008.