Commitment Date: 7/22/15
Commitment in the Class: 14th
Accolades: Rated the No.3 safety in Maryland, No.7 in the East and No.41 in the country … missed senior season due to injury ... second-team all-state (private school) and first-team All-Interstate Athletic Conference as a junior, recording 48 tackles, 5 interceptions and scoring 6 total touchdowns while amassing 693 all-purpose yards ... helped Bullis to back-to-back conference championships in two seasons at school ... finished high school career with 101 tackles, 11 interceptions and 12 total touchdowns.
Recruiting Story: After playing the first half of his career at Washington D.C. McKinley Tech, Johnson decided to transfer to the Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland, for more exposure and to compete in practice against top competition, like four-star quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. (Ohio State), tight end Jonathan Holland (Penn State), and athlete Devonte Williams (Indiana). Having the moto ‘wherever they need me,' Johnson’s attitude and play on the field earned him scholarship offers from Boston College, Delaware, Illinois and Rutgers by the beginning of his junior year.
Much like his good friend Eric Burrell, Johnson said early in his recruitment that an offer from Maryland would be a “game changer.”
“If Maryland offered, I’d love it – the chance to represent my hometown would be a blessing,” Johnson said in February 2015. “An extreme blessing. I have a lot of friends going there and are thinking about going there.”
Schools like Iowa, Marshall, Virginia and Wisconsin all came through with an offer, but nothing from the Terps. The Badgers caught his eye because of his relationship with defensive back coach Daronte Jones, the school having a top-ranked defense and becoming the first school to offer him at safety.
“Offensively, defensively and special teams, I train for all of them so it doesn’t make a difference to me,” Johnson said in February 2015. “My coaches prepare me to be a versatile athlete…Going into (2016, Wisconsin is) going to be losing a lot of defensive players, so it’s a great opportunity for me, and I’m going to take it into consideration.”
Johnson did his due diligence with his recruitment, traveling to Virginia, Penn State, Rutgers, North Carolina. Before going to Wisconsin in late July, Johnson came out with a top three of Georgia, Pittsburgh and the Badgers. In reality, Johnson already knew where he wanted to go to school. Giving UW his silent commitment before even getting to campus, Johnson committed on the first day of his unofficial visit to the program.
Why Wisconsin? “I liked everything. It has a great fan base, and Wisconsin is a beautiful environment. They’re some great coaches and I could see myself doing great things there in the future.”
Scouting Report: Wisconsin recruited Patrick Johnson as a safety and that is exactly what he is. Johnson has very good instincts, especially with the plan front of him.
He reads the quarterback well and he has a very good feel for coverage. Johnson brakes on the ball well and he does like to deliver a big hit. He has some cornerback in him in that he can flip his hips and turn and run with the receiver but that is not what he does best.
In the running game he plays downhill. He's willing to get his shoulder in on a tackle or fill the gap. Johnson can also chase a play to the sideline, get off of a block or avoid the block and make the tackle.
It helps Johnson tremendously that each day and practice he gets to see four star quarterback Dwayne Haskins and also compete against him. Johnson is very good at breaking on the ball in front of him and being the receiver to the point and he also has the ability to go up high and battle ball down or make an interception.
One of the things he liked about Wisconsin was the depth in the secondary. Johnson believes he can come in and play quickly and he does have the body type to do it the key with him is how quickly he'll pick up the defense. He is a smart kid but it takes some time to learn a college defense and especially if they're going to disguise blitzes and rotate coverages. – Scout’s national recruiting analyst Brian Dohn
Coach’s Quote: “Patrick attacks the ball in the air, has great skills and is competitive. Patrick probably feels more comfortable roaming in the middle of the field and snatching the ball out of the air, compared to coming up and playing the run game like Eric (Burrell). That doesn’t mean Patrick won’t put his face on someone, because he definitely will. Patrick has the ability to play corner and safety, because he definitely has the footwork and the twitch to do so.” – Former Wisconsin defensive back coach Daronte Jones.
BadgerNation Prediction: Wisconsin recovered from the de-commitment of four-star safety Craig Watts by landing a more-than-capable prospect in a fertile recruiting region who, most importantly, wants to be at UW. Johnson fits an immediate need for the Badgers and is a well-rounded athlete. Along with Burrell, the duo have the intangibles to step right into the mix and become a contributor for the Badgers’ defense this season, especially since Johnson looks fully healed from the ankle injury that cost him his senior season.