State Scouting Report: Taiwan Johnson

One of the most difficult things about scouting defensive players, for new scouts, is that you're supposed to go contrary to your instincts and stop watching the ball.

Think about it: you're programmed, from the second you start watching football, to follow the ball. Then, as a scout, you're supposed to watch the individual players, on defense, who don't touch the ball.

The joy of watching Taiwan Johnson of Manvel, then, is that the two often collide. On the plays where you stop watching Johnson, there's still a pretty good chance that you'll wind up watching him make a play on the ballcarrier.

Lost in the scoreline of Manvel's loss to Aledo was the play of Johnson all game. He was stout against the run, harassing Aledo star running back Johnathan Gray from sideline-to-sideline. Then he seemingly chased the Aledo quarterback Matt Bishop every time Aledo decided to throw the ball.

Of course, watching Johnson is a joy in itself. He uses his hands incredibly well, and seems to shed whenever he wants to. The only downside to Johnson, that I saw, is that he lacks prototypical size at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds. The rest: the athleticism, movement, technique and motor, all seemed to be in place.

Johnson will be a great fit at Arkansas, where he'll get up to 250 pounds and give the Razorbacks a defensive end who plays bigger than his size because of the way he uses his hands, and who can pressure the quarterback in passing situations. Hard to ask for much more.

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