|Delray Beach (FL) Atlantic defensive end Shelton Johnson (#7) on his official visit|
Johnson is a 6'5", 220 lb. prospect. He claims a 32" vertical, a 200 lb. bench press, and a 520 lb. squat.
ESPN: 3-star, 79 grade, #36 DE
Rivals: 3-star, #37 WDE
Scout: 4-star, #27 DE, #291 overall
247 Sports: 4-star, 91 grade, #16 SDE
Johnson was considered a Florida State lean throughout the process, and he was not even offered by Michigan until mid-January. Then new defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin stepped in, and Johnson quickly scheduled an official visit for the weekend of January 16th. His response to the visit seemed rather lukewarm, so most Michigan fans - including myself - dismissed any likelihood of him joining the Wolverines' class. Over the last couple days, though, rumors started bubbling that he might choose Michigan over the presumed favorite, and despite getting some cold feet late, he went ahead and signed with the Wolverines.
There's a lot to like about Johnson. He looks a full 6'5" and maybe more than 220 lbs., with the weight thing perhaps an optical illusion due to Johnson's robust lower body. He's thick in the legs and backside, which should mean that his body will fill out and add quite a bit of weight. He should have no problem carrying 270+ pounds. I really like his ability to play low, and he takes some good pursuit angles. Johnson is also a punishing hitter who will not be pleasant for running backs to block, and he could be an effective pass rusher.
I would like to see Johnson improve his stance and get-off. Depending on what position he plays, he might need to move his front foot a little farther back to avoid taking a false step. Partly because of that stance, he can be slow off the ball, even slower than the rest of his defensive line mates. He can make it work in high school, but that will get him beaten in college. He also needs to use his hands more often and keep his hands and elbows inside. These are technique issues and not questions of his physical skills.
Overall, Johnson has a good set of physical skills. He needs to get stronger, but that should come with a college S&C program. And aside from the technique issues, he has high upside. Johnson could be the steal of the class, because he has the body of a future NFL player. I said something similar about Logan Tuley-Tillman a couple years ago, but it all depends on how seriously Johnson takes football and how hard he works.
Johnson is the second defensive end in the class, joining fellow Floridian Reuben Jones. This helps out with depth at the position since Lawrence Marshall was the only defensive end in the 2014 class, and some of the older defensive ends look more like tackles. With Brennen Beyer and Frank Clark having graduated following the 2014 season, Johnson could find himself on the field this fall as a backup.
TTB Rating: 80 (ratings explanation)