Johnson discusses commitment

With interest picking up for the speedy linebacker, Klein Collins' (TX) Malcolm Johnson still decided to end the recruiting process on Tuesday when he committed to Texas A&M. Johnson visits with Aggie Websider about his decision.

Over the past month, the Texas A&M coaching staff has been busy filling up the class of 2009, securing 10 commitments since June. Of those verbal pledges, eight came from defensive backs and wide receivers. So it comes as no surprise that commit No. 11 of the summer comes from Malcolm Johnson of Klein Collins (TX) at linebacker, the biggest need position remaining on the Aggie board.

"Yes sir, I committed to Texas A&M less than an hour ago," Johnson said. "I called Coach Wyatt and gave him the news. It felt right. I've followed Texas A&M growing up, and the coaches think I'm a good fit for what they want at outside linebacker. It's a good situation for me."

And what the A&M staff wants at outside linebacker is speed. That's exactly what the 6-foot-2, 212-pound Johnson gives them with his 4.5 forty speed. In fact, Johnson's career started out at running back and he's still used as a skill position weapon on kickoff returns.

"I played running back my whole career until I was a sophomore when they moved me to outside linebacker," Johnson said. "I also returned kickoffs last year, and the new coach here says he wants to play me both ways next fall and get me 8-12 touches a game at running back."

Johnson certainly isn't your typical linebacker. The Klein native racked up 76 tackles, three sacks, and three forced fumbles last year as a junior, but his athletic endeavors in high school don't stop there. He also runs track, and more interestingly he's also on the soccer team. He says both sports are important to his development as a football player who relies on speed.

"Soccer really helps me with my footwork and it's great in developing better hand-eye coordination," Johnson said. "Track has been good in improving my burst and my overall speed."

So it's not surprising that the newest Aggie commit considers his biggest strength to be speed and his ability to use it to make plays.

"My biggest strength is my ability to move in space and get to the ball," Johnson said. "I think my combination of size and speed makes me valuable on the defensive side of the ball."

Johnson says he's looking to improve aspects of his game heading into his senior season. Having lost weight for track, he's already adding size and muscle mass for the fall campaign. He also wants to push up his intensity and approach to the game.

"I'm looking to ne more aggressive on the field next year," Johnson said. "I want to hit the holes harder and blow people up. I want to bring it up a notch."

Johnson had standing offers from Rice, Baylor, and Texas A&M. However, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas Tech, and Virginia were beginning to show serious interest before Tuesday's commitment to the Aggies.

"Interest was definitely picking up. My coach was getting a lot of calls about me lately, especially from Missouri," Johnson said. "But Texas A&M is the best fit for me and I'm pretty sure this ends the recruiting process for me."

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