football Edit

Signed: Top-ranked CB Jakailin Johnson

Ohio State has put together arguably the best cornerback class in the 2021 cycle, with their highest-ranked CB pledge recently putting pen to paper and signing his LOI to play for the football team at the next level.

Jakailin Johnson, who is the top-ranked player at his position in the country, is officially heading to Ohio State for college. He continues an impressive stretch of success that the Buckeyes have had when it comes to recruiting in Missouri.

OSU reeled in commitments from Cameron Brown and Kamryn Babb in the 2018 class, Rivals100 wideout Jameson Williams the following year and top-60 overall prospect Mookie Cooper in the previous cycle. Johnson, however, is the one who is the more highly ranked on Rivals as he’s the No. 44 overall senior in the nation.

I can confirm through a source that Johnson will not be an early enrollee at Ohio State. With Shaun Wade set to depart after this season and the struggles the Buckeyes have had in the secondary, Johnson will be a great addition to help bolster the group.

Why Johnson Committed to Ohio State

“I think with (Ohio State) hiring their d-back coach, and it being coach (Kerry) Coombs, I think it provided a little more stability,” his head coach, Robert Steeples, previously told Josh Helmholdt. “Coach Coombs is back, and probably coming back even better of a coach than when he left, having taken a two-year tour of the NFL. So, you have one of the best developers of cornerbacks in Kerry Coombs and you have an opportunity where they have a need for the position. When those type of things align, the fit’s there.”

Analyzing Johnson's Skill Set

We are still waiting for his senior season highlights to come out, but his junior campaign showed exactly what Johnson will be bringing to the table in Columbus.

The first thing that stood out to me when watching his film was the way Johnson puts himself in a position to record interceptions. He does an excellent job of keeping up with defenders and staying on them like white on rice, and is more than willing to out-physical a wide receiver to pick off the pass.

Speaking of his toughness, Johnson does not level devastating hits like Andre Turrentine does, but he’s capable of leaving some bruises on a ball carrier. This is another way he creates turnovers as Johnson hits wideouts or running backs with enough force and in the right location to cause a fumble, which he did multiple times in the video above.

I am also impressed with Johnson’s recovery speed and athleticism. Even if a wide receiver gets past him, Johnson has no trouble catching up to his opponent and recording either a pass deflection or an interception.

Another aspect of Johnson’s skill set that sticks out, which was briefly mentioned before, is his aggressiveness. The 6-foot-1, 170-pounder gets really physical as soon as the ball is snapped, and also covers wideouts in a way that leaves little room between them and the sidelines.

Johnson is well-deserving of the No. 1 cornerback ranking on Rivals, and could be a turnover machine for the Buckeyes during his tenure with the program.

Stay tuned to BuckeyeGrove.