VIDEO: Jaylen Johnson on Spring Ball Day Six

Dawgman.com spoke Wednesday with Washington defensive lineman Jaylen Johnson, who has gained 50 pounds since he first stepped foot on campus.

What’s it like to get out there in full pads? “It’s exciting to get back out doing what we need to do. Defensively it’s better because we actually get to strike people, put our hands on people, and work tackling. Of course it’s not full speed, but to get that thud, shoulder pad to shoulder pad, is pretty good.”

 

On the development of his role “I came in playing BUCK, then redshirted. I gained some weight. I came in at 235; now I’m 285, so a 50-pound gain. Now I’m playing defensive end. It’s different because they’re asking me to play a lot of different positions. I’ll play defensive end, I’ll play tackle, I’ll play nose on certain plays. It’s a lot to take in mentally, and also physically, but I think it’s going alright.”

 

On his biggest takeaway from last season “There were some great guys ahead of me. Tani Tupuo last year, Elijah Qualls. It was just good getting in that game experience. That’s what I really wanted, that game experience. The speed, the physicality. During the course of the season it changed me a lot, mentally and also physically. It was good going out there, learning from those guys in front of me, seeing how they play, and then practicing it myself.”

On cutting his dreads “It was getting a little hot, a little messy. It just felt like it was a new me, so I cut the hair off.”

 

Where would you like to focus on defense? “That’s hard to say right now because it’s so early. If I had to pick I’d say defensive end, but I’m proficient at tackle because it requires different things and it’s my strong suit, which is quickness, you know, hands. I can play any position, but, if I had to pick, defensive end I guess.”

 

Where can the defense improve from last year? “We always tell ourselves, the number one defense in the PAC-12, that was last year. So we have to set out own standard and we have to start with today and going on forward getting better each day. What we have to do is get better at doing your job everyday.”


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