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Jeff Sentell / DawgNation.com
Tift County LB Andrew Johnson has camped at Alabama and Georgia over the last week.

UGA recruiting: Tift County LB Andrew Johnson wanted by most of the SEC

Want a daily lap through Georgia football recruiting? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. We’ll cover the news, help you get to know a guy like Andrew Johnson better plus add the latest on Justin Fields and Master Teague III to help fans figure out what it all means.

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Andrew Johnson. South Georgia linebacker. When the casual fan hears that name, they might remember his name because of a former American President.

Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson has great speed for a linebacker in the Class of 2018. (Jeff Sentell / SEC Country)

Bench that option. It is better to think about blazing speed. Especially for a linebacker.

He runs track at Tift County. Johnson, the former defensive end, runs the 100, 200 and is on the 4X100 relay team.

Sprinter to tackling machine. That’s what the Georgia staff aims to fill its defense with.

Johnson is a rare linebacker who can do that. He said he’s clocked the 100 meters in about 11.2 seconds.

Look at his highlight tape. An early play will catch your eye. That’s when he chases down 2017 Oklahoma State signee J.D. King.

King starred for Fitzgerald and he’s cracked the 11-second mark in the 100. But Johnson impeached his progress on that clip.

The Tift County standout rates as a 3-star recruit and as the nation’s No. 28 outside linebacker for 2018 according to the 247Sports Composite.

He’s migrated around the field a bit for Tift County. He’d been on the line at defensive end but will move to middle linebacker this fall. That’s his most likely landing spot on Saturdays.

“Some schools say I can outside and some schools say I can play in the middle,” Johnson said.  “Some schools feel I can do both.”

The 6-foot-2, 223-pound prospect can power clean 315 pounds and bench another 300. He was stunned initially by the heat at the Kirby Smart Camp last Saturday but said he was able to bounce back.

He holds a lot of big offers. Which schools are contacting him the most?

Andrew Johnson
Tift County LB Andrew Johnson will change from a No. 94 jersey to No. 1 for his senior year this fall. (Jeff Sentell / DawgNation)

“It is Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, Ole Miss and Georgia Tech,” he said. “Oregon and FSU as well. It is a good bit. It is a handful.”

He said that he already has good relationships in place with assistants Glenn Schumann and Kevin Sherrer at Georgia. Johnson also said he already knew FSU defensive coordinator Charles Kelly as well as those two gentlemen at Georgia.

Johnson grew up in South Georgia but grew up a fan of Florida. They are recruiting him, but not as hard as some other schools.

Does Georgia have a chance?

“Yes, sir,” Johnson said. “They do. You never know how it goes. I have to figure out some things this summer. They have to have what I want for my education. I have to feel at home with it and love being there.”

He was at G-Day this spring. He loved the chance to meet Nick Chubb and also said that Lorenzo Carter was one of his favorite players in the SEC.

 

Getting to know Andrew Johnson

What is Johnson like on and off the field?

“I feel just like a normal person going through my day at school,” he said. “But then there is something about football. I feel like I become a different person when it comes time to step down on that football field.”

Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson said his mother gave him the nickname “Goat” when he was growing up. (Jeff Sentell / SEC Country.com)

“Sometimes I feel like I never blink when I am on the football field.”

That’s a great perspective. There’s no way to replay quotes in the middle of a recruiting story, but that one that would definitely be worthy of that feature.”

Check that film. He’s always moving and playing with lots of energy.

“I’m just always that guy who looks like he can’t wait to play and wants to play all day long,” Johnson said.

The South Georgia product aims to study Computer Engineering in college. He also loves to read and recently devoured “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer. He loved that.

Missouri was his first offer. The Bulldogs were his third offer back in March.

“I think it is great that Georgia is recruiting me,” Johnson said. “It is a real big honor and opportunity for me. There are so many players out there in the world that they have the opportunity to recruit and they could have their eyes on but they picked me.”

Look for him to make his decision sometime before his senior season.

Johnson also carries that “Goat” nickname. That tag is prevalent across social media these days. It is used to describe the very best athletes. The greatest of all time above their peers.

Don’t accuse him of riding the trend there. His mother gave him that nickname at least seven years ago. That was because of boxing all-time great Muhammad Ali. Not because of a popular emoji on Twitter.

“I had ‘Goat’ as my nickname for a long time,” Johnson said. “I can remember when I was 10 and I was playing rec league ball that was my nickname on the back of my jersey.”

He felt that Alabama and Oregon might be the schools he does hear the most from of late. Defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley and defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt are recruiting him for the Crimson Tide.

“They like the way I run and the type of energy I have,” he said. “They really like the way I play, too.”

A little more intel on 5-star QB Justin Fields

It seems like it wouldn’t be an edition of the Intel this week without something on Justin Fields.

Fields also shared two other tidbits with DawgNation on Thursday. He’s done some media and will likely have an audience with Rivals.com reporters at their 5-star Challenge event in Indianapolis this week.

Will the chance to come in right away and win a starting job matter to him?

“Like any competitive person, I’d like the chance to play as soon as possible,” Fields said. “But it is not a deal breaker.”

Justin Fields
Justin Fields is rated as the nation’s No. 6 overall prospect for the Class of 2018. (Chris Kirschner/SEC Country)

Every school can pitch opportunity. Georgia only has two scholarship QBs on the roster. Jacob Eason, the senior signal caller, also looks like he will play just three years in Athens. Georgia doesn’t even have a dual-threat option on the roster. That allows the Bulldogs to pitch deploying Fields in the game in creative short-yardage and red zone situations before he earns the starting job.

But every school can hint at that. Georgia might be able to offer a diamond. A softball diamond. Jaiden Fields, his younger sister, has committed to play softball for the Bulldogs in the class of 2019.

How big of a factor is that going to be? Fields said that remains to be seen.

“My little sister and I are close,” he said. “I go back and forth with it in my mind. We’d both be okay without each other. But it would be nice to be together.”

What is Master W. Teague III thinking right now? 

Master W. Teague III is part of Georgia’s ideal reinforcement plans for the RB spot for 2018. With Nick Chubb and Sony Michel on their last seasons of eligibility, the ideal would be to swoop in and sign 5-star RB Zamir White and

With Nick Chubb and Sony Michel on their last seasons of eligibility, the ideal would be to swoop in and sign 5-star RB Zamir White and the physical marvel from Tennessee.

Teague’s rating has been a popular topic in this space and we won’t hash it out any more than to simply say that he should be rated among the nation’s Top 5 backs for 2018 by any measure. He’s just that good, that productive and that physically gifted.

He camped at Alabama last weekend and posted big numbers.

Teague clarified that the showing in the 40 was a hand time. Not laser. The 3-star RB on the 247Sports Composite did not come away with an offer from the Crimson Tide, though.

Teague is also expected to travel to Ohio State this weekend. Will he work out? What happens if he gets an Alabama or an Ohio State offer? What happens if Clemson swoops in late?

Nothing. Not a single thing.

“I would still make my decision in June,” Teague said.

His answer there makes sense given how focused and driven Teague appears to be in all aspects of his life. Those physical metrics stated above do not come easy no matter how much God-given talent a player is born with.

It takes rigorous training to post numbers like that.

White is also expected to make his college commitment to Georgia on June 27. That’s in honor of his mother’s birthday. I still believe the Bulldogs are in good shape there.

Need to know a lot more about Teague than that: I’d suggest this story and this story that sets up everything one might need to read about the young man’s interest in Georgia.