Hugh Freeze and Co. continue to work the crootin trails in order to revamp the Landshark defense. Jay Johnson, who was originally pledged to the Rebels for the class of 2015 before he was forced to go the JUCO route, reaffirmed his commitment to Ole Miss on Sunday, according to Scout's Chuck Rounsaville.
While at Bruce High School, Johnson originally committed to Mississippi State in 2013 but flipped to the Rebs in 2014. He held offers from the Bulldogs, Rebels and Southern Miss and was even receiving interest from Florida State before he shut his recruitment down. After failing to qualify out of high school, Johnson chose to enroll at East Mississippi Community College, where he'll play this season.
How does he fit in?
After starting out on offense in Scooba, Miss. for the three-time national champions, an injury sidelined him for a year and now he is on the defensive side of the ball for the Lions. As a two-way player his senior year, Johnson totaled 1,800 yards on offense as a running back and wide receiver and collected 10 sacks as a linebacker on defense. Johnson was a Dandy Dozen selection and rated as the No. 45 athlete in the country by 247Sports in 2015.
Now, Johnson stands 6'4 and tips the scales at 230-pounds. A size that gives Dave Wommack and Ole Miss a lot to work with. Off the cuff, Jay appears like someone who could be the next Marquis Haynes off the edge due to his athletic ability and speed. Or he could step right in behind Demarquis Gates and be the sideline-to-sideline guy that can run with receivers and stop the run. Once he arrives in Oxford, he will have four years to play three.
If he has a successful year for EMCC coming off of injury, he could come in and help right away on defense with his size and skill set. With John Youngblood graduating and Haynes almost certainly going pro after the 2016 season, Chris Kiffin will probably be looking for Johnson to step into his room and contribute immediately. But, we are all aware of the struggles at the second level so he could be utilized at linebacker as well.