Deandre Johnson isn’t lurking around Knoxville area department stores in search of winter clothing this week simply because he enjoys shopping. No, the Miami native is in town to kickstart his college career at Tennessee.
“I’m just excited to start the next chapter of my life,” Johnson told InsideTennessee. “I’m just eager to learn and just ready to work.”
The Scout No. 12-ranked defensive end in the Sunshine State’s 2017 class changed his commitment from Mississippi to Tennessee back on Dec. 12.
“It’s like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders,” Johnson said. “I’m happy about the decision. I’m just excited. I’m ready to go to work.”
Johnson said his relationship with Tennessee coaches Butch Jones, Larry Scott and Steve Stripling played a vital role in his wanting to be a Volunteer.
“We built a great relationship together,” the Scout three-star prospect said. “I speak with them almost every day. My relationship with them is strong.”
Tennessee finished off a 9-4 season with a 38-24 win over Nebraska in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.
“To me, it was a very good season,” Johnson said. “Talking about the injuries they had and the adversity they had to go through, just how those guys stuck through and they fought and they just grinded their way out and they got the win in the bowl game. Right now the atmosphere on campus is going to be positive. People have bashed the head coach for certain things, but you can’t control injuries and things like that. I feel like they had a real good season.”
Johnson and the Miami Southridge defense held Dr. Phillips to just one touchdown en route to the 2016 FHSAA Class 8A state championship, winning 14-10 back on Dec. 10. Johnson notched seven tackles.
“Oh man, that was great winning state,” Johnson said. “Just to go out as a senior winning state and just continue my football career at Tennessee and a prestigious program, I’m just honored.”
The Miami native plans to play defensive end at Tennessee and would like to get to at least 255 pounds before his freshman season.
Johnson’s preferred number is presently occupied on defense by redshirt sophomore linebacker Dillon Bates. The freshman will instead don No. 13.