Drawing High Marks

One of the top sophomore linemen in the Midwest, Hazelwood Central (Mo.) tackle Roderick Johnson already claims three BCS offers and is drawing interest from a school known to produce Outland Trophy winners at left tackle.

MADISON - He goes by the nickname ‘Right Tackle' Johnson, but Hazelwood Central (Mo.) sophomore lineman Roderick Johnson knows he needs to update his status.

After playing right tackle his freshman year (thus developing the nickname), the 6-6, 320-pound lineman flipped to the other side this past season, and has drawn rave results in such a short time.

"I love playing tackle and enjoy the offensive line I work with," Johnson told Badger Nation. "We work very well together and it makes it fun."

As deep as the offensive line tradition goes at Wisconsin, the tradition at left tackle goes even deeper. Over the last nine years, the Badgers have had only three players protecting the blind side, two of whom (Joe Thomas and Gabe Carimi) won the Outland Trophy their senior year.

"Wisconsin is a very good Division 1 school," said Johnson. "They have produced very good d-linemen that have went to the NFL throughout the years. That's something you have to consider when you are a linemen."

After originally being checked out by defensive backs coach DeMontie Cross, Johnson is now being recruited by linebackers coach Andy Buh.

"He's a good man," Johnson said of Buh. "He has very good interest in me. He's a person you can talk to and chill with. He's a person you really could just sit around and talk to. I want to keep working on my game to get to the point where they offer me."

Claiming early offers from Iowa, Michigan and Missouri, Johnson said the majority of coaches that came through his high school in the spring complimented him on his size and frame.

"I have grown as a football player over the past year, learning the game that much more," said Johnson. "I understand the skills needed and the purposes of what it takes at my specific position to be a Division 1 player."

With Wisconsin having sent him questionnaires, camp brochures and other information, Johnson is planning to visit the Badgers, but isn't sure of any summer plans at this point. More than likely, Johnson will be taking unofficial visits instead.

"The visits are very significant to me so I can see the environments of the schools I wish to apply to," said Johnson. "I am open to all the schools at this point and am excited to have the opportunity to play Division 1. All the schools that have offered me are doing really well and look to have a bright future."

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