Johnson came in as a completely hyped linebacker. He is physical and fast and played that way whether he was starting linebacker, backup linebacker, or defensive end. But let's look back at our analysis of Johnson coming out of high school in the February '08 Recruiting Class:
"This kid is all intensity and he brings a pile of bricks to the football. Fundamentally, however he needs a lot of work. He reaches a lot and makes horse collar and jersey tackles and sometimes on his monster hits he doesn't wrap up. Now in high school that about knocks the RB or QB out, but in college you need to be sound in your tackling. The super-exciting thing about it is that Johnson has the things you can't coach - size, intensity, football instincts. And to address his fundamentals he merely has the best linebacker coach in the country (and we make no reservations about saying that) in Foster to guide that talent into a tackling machine at Virginia Tech. It should be interesting to see where Johnson ends up on the defense. You will hear us say this a lot during this recruiting analysis - sorting out the immense LB talent in this class and the '07 class and getting them into the right positions is a great problem that Coach Foster has."
The fact is that Johnson wasn't able to get solid in his tackling and as a result he wasn't making plays at LB. While Coach Foster is the best LB coach in the country, he also isn't going to tolerate missed tackles. That led to Johnson getting benched in favor of tackling machine Lyndell Gibson and eventually moved to end. But at a lower level of football, Johnson is going to have a chance to play LB because he is tough and fast and will likely overpower the competition.
This is good for Johnson and the only downside here is that the Hokies are not nearly deep enough at defensive end. That said, super stud freshman Zack McCray gets onto campus this summer and he knows what this departure means in terms of opening up a real shot for him to get playing time this fall as a backup. McCray is going to be fired up and working hard this summer, you can bet on that.
Patrick Terry on the other hand, is really a win-win for everyone. He departs a position, WR, that is absolutely over-run with talent in the program. DJ Coles is coming back from injury and Nubian Peak looks like he fits right in, so there is just no playing time left for Patrick Terry. Transferring gets him playing time and frees up another scholarship for Virginia Tech (punter Brian Saunders will likely be the beneficiary here).
Both players represented the program well while they were at Tech and we wish them both the best as they move on to their next steps.
Speaking of next steps, MadJay is taking one as well, utilizing the summer lull to relocate himself and family away from the friendly confines of HokieNation to a job outside of Kansas City, Missouri. Coming back for home games will be much more difficult, but we still plan on trying to make a game or two when we can. And ESPN3, ACC Select and Pay-Per-View are all going to financially benefit from this as we will now be ordering every Hokie game on Saturdays this fall. Life goes on but we are, and will always remain SuperFans and MadJay will still be posting on here every week come football season.