Fresno (Calif.) cornerback Jaylon Johnson took an unofficial visit to USC for the Trojans first spring scrimmage, and since then, USC has played a prominent role in his recruitment.
While May Evaluations can be a stressful time for some recruits, Johnson watched his older brother, Johnny, go through the process four years ago.
“It’s not as exciting as it would be if my brother hadn’t gone through it all, but I’m definitely enjoying it,” said Johnson. “I’ve actually only had Arizona State to come by to see me, but I know a lot of other schools are lined up when we get into spring ball.”
USC has yet to see Johnson in person, but Trojans defensive back coach Ronnie Bradford has developed a good relationship with the 6-foot-1, 185-pound cornerback since his unofficial visit.
“I talk to Coach Bradford the most, but I talk to Coach (Clay) Helton a lot too,” said Johnson. “Both of the coaches have been probably recruiting me the hardest.
“I would definitely say that Coach Bradford is the type of guy who keeps it real and tells you the truth. That’s why we have a great relationship. I appreciate guys like that who tell me the truth and help me out in my life.”
Johnson has the size of a safety but has played cornerback for Central East. While Trojan fans await the transition of USC’s defense under new coordinator Clancy Pendergast, the recruiting process has already foreshadowed a different philosophy on personnel.
“Coach Bradford says he really likes my frame,” said Johnson. “He likes that I’m aggressive and long. I can make a lot of plays on the ball with my long arms and size.
“He likes guys who are bigger, but who can move their feet like a smaller guy. When you can do that you can cover a variety of different kinds of receivers. I can back off the line a little more with my size and still get my hands on a guy.”
Johnson has no set plans for additional unofficially visits. Instead, he is spending more time online research schools for himself.
“I’ve been learning more about the style of play for each program and the depth at defensive back they have,” said Johnson. “I’m also researching the other sounding positions on each team.
“It puts a lot of pressure on a defensive back if the defensive line and linebackers aren’t getting a rush on the passer. There’s a lot that goes into it.”
With USC specifically, Johnson has also had some revelations.
“You know, the level of talent there wasn’t as high as it has been,” said Johnson. “Just watching the team practice, I can definitely see myself playing early there.”