Commitment Analysis: Daje Johnson

Texas flexed some of its recruiting muscle Saturday, securing a commitment from previous TCU pledge Daje Johnson.

What does it mean? For one thing, it shows the kind of recruiting power Texas is wielding right now. TCU has an outstanding class, one undoubtedly buoyed by the fact that the Horned Frogs will be joining the Big 12 (before, it was even helped because they were set to join the Big East, another BCS conference). And one of the popular thought-lines was that TCU, with its location in the DFW recruiting hotbed, would be able to recruit somewhat on equal footing with the Longhorns. Not necessarily that the Horned Frogs would be landing top three recruiting classes nationally, but that they would at least be able to go toe-to-toe with the Longhorns on some key recruits.

No, Daje Johnson isn't from the DFW area. And it's a hop-skip-and-a-jump from Pflugerville to the 40 Acres. But Johnson undoubtedly fits the description of "key recruit", and the Horned Frogs had the advantage in that Johnson had been a long-term commitment to the program. None of that mattered, as Texas basically walked into the recruit store, pointed and said "I want THAT", and walked out with one of the state's fastest football players.

From a football perspective, Johnson was an excellent pickup. It isn't often that you see teams hauling in multi-talented players who run mid-4.3-second 40-yard dashes at the 11th hour. And he fits a major need: namely, the fact that the Longhorns stand to lose two of their fastest and most dynamic offensive threats — wide receiver Marquise Goodwin and running back D.J. Monroe — after this season. Both are players who merit special sub-packages in offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin's offense, because both, to put it mildly, operate at a completely different speed than the players defending them.

But alas, both players will be seniors in 2012, meaning that Texas needed to land players who could fill in. Johnson stands an excellent chance of taking the "Monroe spot" once the elder player graduates. And he would fit in well there. He isn't quite as fast, but he's more versatile. He's a more skilled running back and has better hands to be utilized in the passing game.

Indeed, Johnson could plug in at running back, slot receiver or cornerback, and do them all ably. And that also allows Texas to find a great fit for 2013 talent Dontre Wilson. If Wilson proves able to handle running back duties, Texas can move Johnson to wideout. If Wilson is better put as a slot receiver, Texas can keep Johnson at running back and keep many of those same looks. If Texas can land Wilson, it will have adequately replaced the speed lost by the graduation of the Longhorns' two speedsters.

The fit couldn't be any more perfect. Johnson can come in, apprentice under Monroe and be ready to roll in 2013.


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