Texas lands big commitment from JUCO LB Caleb Johnson
Coming into the early signing period, one of the biggest priorities for the Texas Longhorns was finding one more linebacker to add to its class as the staff tries to fill the departures of a couple senior starters. On Monday night, Texas did in fact add to its commitment list, and it did so with the pledge from a playmaker from the JUCO ranks who brings with him plenty of speed and experience.
Longhorn fans, welcome Caleb Johnson to the family.
Johnson, out of Fullerton Community College in California, announced his decision moments ago, choosing Texas over Oregon, Colorado and Arkansas. The 6-1, 220-pound Johnson has been high on the Longhorns for a while and said the overall draw of Texas combined with an open depth chart made it a fairly easy decision for him.
“It’s just big to have it out. The opportunity there is just huge,” Johnson said. “It’s already a great situation as far as me coming in and playing.”
Ironically, Johnson will head to Austin in January with his eyes on filling in for departing senior Gary Johnson, a JUCO transfer himself. The success that Gary Johnson had in his two years in the Texas program was a factor in Caleb Johnson’s decision.
“Definitely, seeing his success and everything coming from JUCO, and we’re relatively the same size, that was a big factor,” Johnson said. “And I feel like the coaches saw him come in be one of their best players, so I feel like they have trust in JUCO players and have success at the University of Texas.”
Johnson will sign with Texas on Wednesday and report to Austin next month. He’ll have four years to play three seasons of Division I ball after taking a medical redshirt this year.
Johnson committed to Iowa State early in the process but decided to open things up as more schools grew aware of his talent. He took official visits to all four of his favorites – including a rare second trip to Colorado just last weekend due to CU’s coaching change – but Texas held the pole position for a while and was able to fend off the other programs down the stretch. Now, Johnson said he’s excited to begin the next chapter of his playing career.
“Honestly, it’s a relief. It’s nice to not have to think about it, every day stressing,” Johnson said. “I can just focus and prepare for what I need to do once I get there, now that I know where I’m going.”
With Texas set to lose seniors Gary Johnson and Anthony Wheeler after the Longhorns’ appearance in the Sugar Bowl, the coaches will be looking for Caleb Johnson to come in and compete for immediate playing time. Johnson believes he’ll be up for the task.
“Honestly, I feel like I can be a huge impact to the defense,” Johnson said. “I think I can be one of the best linebackers in the country next year. For my progression, I think I’ll have good legacy.”
Johnson becomes the Longhorns’ 21st commitment in the 2019 class. He’s Texas’ fourth linebacker commitment, joining De’Gabriel Floyd, Marcus Tillman and David Gbenda.