Texas A&M picks up versatile LB commit in Brian Johnson

Nick Krueger, Recruiting Analyst
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CLASS OF 2018 RANKINGS: Texas | Outside linebacker | Rivals250

After Brian Johnson set up a visit to come to Texas A&M this week, predictions began almost immediately that a big decision was to follow.

On Friday evening, those predictions were made reality, when Johnson announced his commitment to the Aggies. The high three-star Houston-area linebacker said the decision wasn't immediate, but after talking through everything with his parents on the ride home - and again the following day – he said that they were as sold on him heading to College Station as he was.

“They love everything about it,” he said. “They felt like it was home to them also - they love the coaches, from an academic standpoint, they love that, and just the facilities themselves.”

Outside linebacker

3 STARS


Manvel

RR: 5.7

Ht: 6'2.0"

Wt: 185.0

Class: 2018

POSITION

-

NATIONAL

STATE

Commitment status:

undecided


Johnson wasn’t able to speak with head coach Kevin Sumlin, who had a family commitment to tend to, but he’ll be back in town this weekend at an Aggies recruit barbecue and expects to get some time in with him there. Johnson was still able to talk with other members of the staff and that helped ice his decision.

“We viewed the academic campus and after that, we did some stuff in a uniform, took some pictures,” he said. “From there, we went to go talk to Coach Clarence (McKinney) and then Coach (John) Chavis.”

The plan next season at Manvel is for Johnson to play more as a safety, but he’s expected to bring those skills in coverage to the linebacker corps once he suits up for the Aggies.

Chavis has put more of an emphasis on recruiting athletic, rangy linebackers more recently. Brian Johnson is reminiscent of 2017 signee Devodrick Johnson and during his senior high school season, Anthony Hines worked to become a trimmer, more nimble version of himself.

“He said that I would play in a nickel-sam spot and he can see me making an impact on defense,” he said. “He said I need a little more weight on me, but that’s not a big factor. He loves my speed blitzing off edge and how I can hold receivers in coverage.”

Of course, Aggies coaches weren’t the only ones working on getting Johnson committed. Rivals250 safety Leon O’Neal and Rivals100 defensive end Max Wright announced their commitments together in a video released in early June, and both have reached out to Johnson to help reel him in.

“I’m just now building that relationship with Leon, but he he texts me all the time on Twitter now,” he said. “He started reaching out to me when he found out that Texas A&M was one of my top schools and that I was thinking about going there. Max had texted me too to see how I was doing and I heard from Jordan Moore also.”

Also helping the cause is the Manvel-to-A&M pipeline that has been especially strong as of late. The Aggies signed Rivals250 defensive back Derrick Tucker in last year’s class and on June 9, picked up another commitment from the Houston-area high school in three-star running back Deneric Prince.

Naturally, there was always going to be some influence from those familiar voices.

“Derrick has always been like A&M is the place to go,” he said. “Deneric wanted me to be right in there with him, he was like Do it for me, do it for me, and I said I’m doing it for myself but I think it’s great we’re going to be playing together again. They both really wanted me to be there.”

Johnson has enjoyed an active spring as many Power Five programs made him a priority over the last few months. Baylor, Illinois and Utah were some of his more recent offers, and earlier this spring he was complimentary of what he saw and learned from Iowa State, Oklahoma State and West Virginia.

While Johnson had interest in other options, the lure of playing SEC football close to home is still a potent combination for locking up recruits. So much so that he’s planning on signing with the Aggies in December.

“A&M showed me how I can feel more comfortable in their program and showed me a plan for how they can build me," he said. "Once I get on the field, that’s the SEC - that’s a lot of attention - I want that, but I know I have to work at it too.”

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