Image via SETX.com
Texas landed their 2019 QB commitment in Roschon Johnson. I asked our contributor Seth McKenzie to help make an evaluation post on Johnson since he played QB in college, so here we go…
Roschon Johnson – Port Neches-Groves High School – Port Neches, Texas
With players of this caliber it is easy to get caught up their skill sets. Sometimes, trying to find negatives can feel nitpicky and just “fishing” to find some part of their game that is less than desirable. There will be a few items I will mention toward the end of this evaluation but for now, let’s focus on the tools Johnson has that are exciting and will be beneficial to an offensive system.
There are multiple instances on film displaying Johnson’s ability to “drop the ball into a bucket”. He pulls the string on several deep passes down the seams, which is to say the ball seems to just float into the required spot and then seemingly falls down into the receiver’s open hands. I love seeing examples of young quarterbacks releasing a football before the intended receiver comes out of his break and there are a few clips of that showing Johnson’s ability in this regard.
Also, for a young quarterback, Johnson stands in the pocket on several occasions, takes a hit, and delivers an accurate football. This lets me know he has good awareness (more on this later) and has an element of toughness to his game and that is always a bonus. The fact he can be aware, tough, and accurate on the same play is a huge plus for a player of his caliber.
SPEED AND QUICKNESS
One only has to watch a few minutes of Johnson’s film to realize his speed. He splits defenders on several clips and then races to the end zone for a touchdown. He is also able to run away from defenders who have good pursuit angles, meaning the defender has the proper path and “should” have the angle to make the tackle on the ball carrier. When a guy, like Johnson, is able to eliminate that good angle it usually means he has some real speed.
Quickness wise, Johnson appears very shifty. He has some juke and jive to his game and displays a great ability to give defenders a dead leg and leave them holding their jocks. He sort of has a Michael Vick quality to his game in this regard. His ability to plant his foot and move sideways is pretty great to observe.
To go along with his speed and quickness, it is obvious he is a very good athlete. On several plays, he runs into the second level at full speed and hurdles a defender who is attempting to tackle him low. The fact he is hard for defenders to get a good, solid hit on him, which is also due to his athletic ability, will serve him well at the next level.
Knowing when to scramble out of the pocket, or just take the yardage you are being given, is something not a lot of young players have. Johnson is obviously very valuable to his team, and there are a few clips that show him gaining yardage and having several defenders in good position to wipe him out on the sideline and he just “takes what the defense gives him” and runs out of bounds. This eliminates a lot of opportunity for injury and shows he is an intelligent player.
Knowing when pressure is coming, when to stay in the pocket, and when to escape the pocket are all parts of awareness. Johnson seems to have a pretty good grasp on these. There are a few clips where I would have preferred him to have remained in the pocket a bit longer with his eyes down the field, but he was able to turn those into positive yardage so the coach in me cannot complain.
Does he have speed? Check. Does he have quickness? Yes. What about good field vision and awareness? Yes. With affirmative answers to those questions you have to think Johnson would excel at this aspect and he does. The only thing I would like to see from him in this regard is on some of his roll outs (and these may be designed within the system) to attack the “bubble” (or the space between the end of the line of scrimmage and sideline) a bit more aggressively. If he puts a bit more doubt in the minds of defenders as to what he may do, he would be even more successful than he already is.
This is probably my one “knock” on Johnson as of right now. He makes several good throws to receivers running crossing patterns and he puts pretty good zip on them. I would, however, like to see a bit more velocity on some of the throws he makes on the run. Some of this can be corrected with a tweak or two in mechanics, and addressed in what I mentioned above about attacking the bubble more aggressively. There are also a few clips that show balls a bit underthrown, but to not be so harsh, they are on pretty deep throws. The biggest negative I saw in this area was on a ball thrown on a post route that brought the receiver more across the middle back into the pursuing coverage man and toward the nearest zone defender.
Most of the negatives I observed are easily correctable either with mechanical tweaks and normal physical maturation. A few times, it was hard to remember the film was of a young man in his sophomore year. I love dual threat guys and Johnson most certainly is that. I can see him being a nightmare for defensive coordinators as they have to prepare for the fact he can beat you in multiple ways. He is definitely the new generation of quarterback that is not only a great passer, but also a great athlete. He is a receiver, quarterback, and running back type of athlete all rolled into one.