Profile: Isaiah Johnson
Location: Modesto (Calif.) Downey
Recruiting: Committed to the UCLA Bruins, his first offer.
The Scouting Report: Johnson was ranked by Scout as a three-star receiver going into his junior year, on our early list last spring after we saw him at The Opening Regional. In fact, almost all of his film is as a receiver, and he shows good speed, ability to separate and good hands plus the willingness to go up and get the ball. UCLA, though, offered Johnson and is recruiting him as an outside linebacker. He's not unlike Rahyme Johnson, who we originally ranked as a receiver when he was a sophomore because that's what he played, but eventually focused on defense. Johnson is 6-3 and up to 205 now and probably gets up to 220-225 by his freshman year. On the few clips of him playing defense, he is playing a stand up rush role, and does a good job getting around his blocker and pursuing the quarterback. He'll certainly need to add more weight to play linebacker in the Pac-12 but the athleticism and instincts are there.
Overall Analysis: UCLA needs to add some linebackers in this class after signing just one in 2017, Rahyme Johnson, who as we said above, is a similar player to Isaiah Johnson. But the one player we've heard Johnson be compared to, physically, is Curtis Robinson, who was a receiver primarily as a junior but worked as a linebacker exclusively that offseason and ended up an All-American linebacker which is what he plays at Stanford now. Not saying Isaiah Johnson is Curtis Robinson, but they have similar bodies and games. Johnson is also a very good student and is pretty low-maintenance- Scott White won't have to baby sit him like some early commits (see Krys Barnes and Lokeni Toailoa, early commits who never wavered). That will give White a chance to go full-bore on the other 'backers he's targeting. And we think Johnson could really blossom as a linebacker the more he concentrates on that. He doesn't play 7v7 so we won't see him until The Opening Oakland regional, but he said he'll work out at linebacker there. In all, this is a good quality addition to UCLA's linebacker board while not scaring away any more touted linebackers that White wants.