Johnson: 'This place is special'

InsideTennessee.com brings you the best and latest Tennessee football recruiting coverage. Scroll down to read a story about an in-state prospect who visited Knoxville last weekend.

Several recruits leave Tennessee's campus gushing about a "family feel" coach Butch Jones and his staff have created in Knoxville.

Add Ryan Johnson to that list.

The Class of 2016 offensive tackle from Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy said he left Rocky Top "even more impressed" with the Vols after soaking in the Orange & White game last weekend.

"This place is special, you can really tell that," Johnson told InsideTennessee. "I really had a great time."

Johnson's most recent visit Saturday marked his fifth overall trip to Knoxville. He was on hand for the Vols' spring game last year, as well.

Johnson's certainly no stranger to the Tennessee program, but he admits something was different about this visit.

The 6-foot-5, 270-pounder vividly recalls taking a moment in the first quarter of Tennessee's mock game to scan the audience and appreciate the atmosphere he found himself in.

"I remember just looking around and thinking, ‘Wow,'" Johnson told IT. "I feel like it feels like a family. It's just different. I don't know how to put it, but just sitting in the stands with all those people, it just feels like a big family."

When asked to name his favorite part of his visit, Johnson quickly fired back "everything."

But if he had to pinpoint one aspect, it'd be the game day atmosphere and the more than 68,000 fans who attended the spring game.

"That was unbelievable. I never thought I'd see so many people come out for a spring game," Johnson said. "That was really cool. (Tennessee) just has such a passionate fan base. I just loved the environment. All the fans and the music. It was just awesome. I really liked it all."

Johnson, who holds offers from Tennessee, Ole Miss and Mississippi State, said he also spent much of the spring game watching Tennessee offensive line coach Don Mahoney's every move in order to get a feel for his coaching style.

And after further review, Mahoney passed Johnson's eye test with flying colors.

Johnson said he thought Mahoney blended the "right amount" of fun and intensity into his coaching during the game.

"I saw him get after some people, which isn't a bad thing," Johnson said. "But I also saw him joke with his guys, too."

Johnson calls his relationship with Mahoney "great."

"I really, really like him as a coach and as a person," Johnson said of Mahoney.

Overall, Johnson gave the visit an "A-plus" grade.

"It was really perfect," Johnson told IT. "I really like Tennessee. I really think it's a great school. I was really impressed. I'm still open, but I really do like Tennessee a lot."

Johnson has no set future visitation plans, but says he wants to visit Auburn "soon."


Discuss the blocker's recruitment with InsideTennessee analysts and subscribers by clicking here.



Inside Tennessee Top Stories