Johnson brings the heat for Nassau

After working for a few years before deciding to give football another chance, Nassau DE Bryan Johnson (6-3, 250) had a breakout freshman season in 2010 and with his size, athleticism and strength, he's ready to show four-year coaches he has what it takes to be a difference-maker at the next level...

Johnson prepped at Bellport (Brookhaven, NY) High School, but didn't take up the game of football until his senior season.

"I always loved the game of football, but I didn't play it until I was a senior," Johnson told recently. "I didn't know what I needed to take or what grades I needed to get qualified, so I didn't qualify and honestly, I wasn't really recruited much just because of my lack of playing the game much.

"After graduation, I just started working. I bought a car and had payments and I just figured I would work and that would be it, but after about three years, I just missed it too much and I decided I needed to play again and Nassau was the best place I thought I could be."

While going to school and playing football, Johnson also works overnight at a homeless shelter and commutes 45 minutes each way as he works to realize his dream of playing football at the next level.

"I work there and it gives me that perspective on working hard for others, but also that I want to make the most of this opportunity," Johnson said.

As a freshman in 2010, Johnson posted 40 tackles, 15 tackles-for-loss and eight sacks from his weakside defensive end position and he said he hopes to improve in every area this fall and the only way to do that is with hard work this summer.

"I've been working on my footwork a lot and my hand speed," Johnson said. "I need to stay lower this year and just work on my overall game.

"I was timed at a 4.47 this spring. It was hand-times, but for a guy my size, I'm a lot faster than people expect me to be and I have good strength too (20 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press), so that's what I think helps me be successful."

Recruiting is still in its infancy, but Johnson has heard from a handful of schools so far.

"Mostly it's just been schools like Syracuse, Rutgers and Akron," Johnson said. "I've just heard from them through letters and I talked to a few of them in the spring.

"I'm hoping more schools show interest once the season starts. I feel like I can play at the next level and that I'm just starting to find what I can do on the football field."

Johnson is on pace to graduate in December and he will have three years to play two wherever he ends up.

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