To scouts, quarterback coaches, and college coaches, the 2019 recruiting class is short on elite talent at the quarterback position.
There are no consensus five-star prospects. The highest-rated pro-style quarterback, Oklahoma commit Spencer Rattler, sits at No. 41 nationally. The highest-rated dual-threat quarterback, Auburn commit Bo Nix, sits at No. 68 nationally.
In the 2018 class, the top two players in the country were both quarterbacks.
So the fact that the Texas Longhorns landed the nation’s No. 4 dual-threat quarterback, Roschon Johnson, nearly a year ago is becoming more and more important for the 2019 recruiting class.
Johnson is the top-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the state and held offers from Florida, Florida State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oregon, Penn State, TCU, Tennessee, and Texas A&M, among others.
The risk at the time was that Johnson would fail to develop and another in-state quarterback like Grant Tisdale would prove to be a better option.
That hasn’t been the case at all — the evaluation by head coach Tom Herman and offensive coordinator Tim Beck has stood the test of time. There’s no need for revisionist history.
Known as a hard worker, Johnson improved his completion percentage from 61.6 percent as a sophomore to 64.9 percent as a junior. His yards per attempt increased from 10.0 to 10.5, all while his interception rate dropped. As a runner, Johnson’s yards per carry improved as he nearly matched the 30 rushing touchdowns he put up as a sophomore with 29 rushing touchdowns as a junior.
“No one works harder than (Roschon) does,” Port Neches-Groves head coach Brandon Faircloth told Inside Texas this spring. “He’s on our field every morning at 5:45 am. Yesterday when I left here at 5:00 pm, he was out here throwing to his receivers. It’s easy to progress when you work as hard as he does. He’s a great player, a hard worker, but also a great student. He’s got a 4.0 GPA. He makes us all really good coaches.”
Dedication in the weight room has Johnson poised for a big senior season, as Faircloth believes that his star quarterback has improved in numerous areas.
“He’s had a great off-season,” Faircloth said. “Mechanically, he’s better. He has a stronger arm. He’s more accurate. All that stuff comes from the weight room. As your body continues to mature and improve, you get stronger, and he’s also got faster, which I don’t know how that’s possible.”
So expect Johnson’s positive trajectory to continue.
As the first commit in the 2019 class for the Longhorns, Johnson also took a leadership role in recruiting other prospects. And while he doesn’t exactly have the biggest personality, his presence in the class helped pass catchers envision who they would be playing with in college if they committed to Texas.
There’s little doubt that helped, as the Horns have now secured pledges from a number of talented wide receivers and tight ends — Jordan Whittington, Jake Smith, Demariyon Houston, Brayden Liebrock, and Jared Wiley.
Texas will likely add at least one more wide receiver to that group by February, but beyond his senior season, Johnson is focused on his ideal schematic fit in Herman’s offense and preparing himself to take advantage of it.
“What made Texas right for me is I would say the overall culture they’re trying to bring there, to the people they’re trying to get things going with and get things back on track,” Johnson told 247Sports in May. “The system they run for me, I know Coach Herman has done a lot with dual-threat quarterbacks in previous history and I think I can make a difference in that offense and bring Texas back where it should be.”
In a down year at the position, finding an extremely talented quarterback with the right skill set and mentality to succeed is no small achievement.