Brandon Johnson comes from a pretty good bloodline.
His father, Charles, caught ten seasons in the MLB as a two-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner. His cousin is the eccentric former NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson, who made six Pro Bowls and hauled in 10,783 total receiving yards in his 10 illustrious seasons as a professional football player.
It’s safe Tennessee’s newest verbal commitment is working with solid genes.
Johnson, a Scout three-star wide receiver from Plantation, Florida, gives the Vols their 16th commitment of the 2016 class, and one who matches his famous family members in both athleticism and talent.
“He’s a really overall smooth athlete,” Florida recruiting analyst Corey Bender told InsideTennessee. “He runs crisp routes, doesn’t really round off his routes too often. He’s just a good overall athlete with good size. He catches the ball away from his body. He’s a guy who doesn’t use his body too much to catch passes. He has good ball skills.”
The American Heritage High School standout pledged his commitment to Tennessee over a host of storied programs, including LSU, Miami, Georgia and Arkansas, among others. Johnson pared the list down to LSU, Tennessee and UGA before choosing the Vols Wednesday. The 6-foot-2, 171-pound senior uses a combination of length and speed that makes him a dangerous threat on the perimeter.
“He’s a long strider who can really stretch the field and can do significant damage after the catch,” Bender said. “He picks up a lot of yards in a hurry, too. He picks up like a deer. Once he gets going, he really gets to top speed and he’s faster than what people think.”
Johnson ranks as the No. 18 overall receiver in the Sunshine State’s 2016 class and as the No. 107 overall wide receiver in the country. The newest Tennessee commit will need to add some strength to his lengthy frame at the college level, but his versatile skill set and high ceiling turned the Scout three-star recruit into a coveted prospect to schools across the nation.
“At 170 pounds, he definitely has to fill out a little more and continue to hit the weight room, but once he actually gets into a college strength and conditioning program, I don’t think that will be a problem,” Bender said. “He has a nice, lengthy frame, so it doesn’t look like adding weight will be a problem in the long haul.”
By beefing up his frame and continuing to develop his talented ball skills, Johnson could become a commendable red zone target for Butch Jones and his spread offense.
“I think he’ll always kind of be a red zone threat,” Bender told I. “I don’t think right away obviously because he has to add some weight to get stronger, but he has good ball skills, length and leaping ability. He gets vertical in a hurry.”
On top of it all, Jones' newest 'brick' is an amiable student of the game who adds a dynamic leadership presence in the locker room, which may be one of his best traits.
“He’s a high character kid, an engaged personality, a kid you want in your locker room,” Bender said. “He’s just a great kid overall.”