The 2018 recruiting cycle was the first full year for Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman and his staff to actually go out and recruit the talent they felt would fit their system perfectly.
From an offensive standpoint, it was imperative to the staff to recruit field generals that would potentially hold the keys to Tim Beck’s offense. The Longhorns were able garner two quarterback commitments last cycle from Cameron Rising and Casey Thompson, though the two have yet to see any game action this season.
Yet another insanely gifted quarterback will soon head in Herman and Beck’s direction, and he’s one of the nation’s best playmakers at the position. Consensus four-star Port Neches-Groves quarterback Roschon Johnson was the first prospect to make a pledge to the Longhorns this cycle during the summer of 2017, and he’s been proudly leading the #fUTure19 movement ever since.
#HookEm commit QB Roschon Johnson (@RoschonJ) is deadly when he takes off with ball. He reverses field and scores on this one. #Electric @KJandAJDaddy | @BON_SBNation @CodyDanielSBN | @SBN_Wescott pic.twitter.com/WLtpD1lBJY— J.Hamilton (@JoeHamilton__) October 13, 2018
Johnson has been an absolute force on the field throughout his high school football career thus far. Last season, Johnson put up video game-esque numbers as he passed for 2,918 yards, rushed for 1,627 yards and scored 64 total touchdowns — 35 passing and 29 rushing. Those numbers exemplify the sort of elite talent level Texas will be receiving from Johnson.
Elite PNG QB Roschon Johnson (@RoschonJ) converts on a fourth & long with a TD strike. Proving he can hurt you in numerous ways.— J.Hamilton (@JoeHamilton__) October 13, 2018
And you hear someone saying “Put those horns up” in the background. #HookEm@KJandAJDaddy | @BON_SBNation @CodyDanielSBN | @SBN_Wescott pic.twitter.com/XXRp5CWv1Q
It’s a new season for Johnson and his team, and he’s still producing at the high level that earned him recognition as the nation’s No. 4-ranked dual-threat gunslinger.
In last week’s game versus Crosby, Johnson was beyond impressive as he racked up 315 yards of total offense and touched the end zone five times — three with his legs and the other two coming through the air. The numbers Johnson posted most certainly helped provide points on the scoreboard, but his demeanor, will to win, and gutsiness in guiding his team with a game-winning touchdown drive was remarkable.
This is what #TXHSFB is all about!#HookEm commit QB Roschon Johnson (@RoschonJ) has ice in his veins! Game winning TD pass by the elite quarterback. #CLUTCH @KJandAJDaddy | @BON_SBNation @CodyDanielSBN | @SBN_Wescott pic.twitter.com/8vYGXBTocI— J.Hamilton (@JoeHamilton__) October 13, 2018
Johnson detailed to Burnt Orange Nation what went in to pulling off the prominent win.
“Watching film all week, we knew what they were going to give us. So it was just a matter of us executing,” Johnson said. “We had the plays set out for us to go out there and just do it. We had some mistakes in the game, but we were resilient tonight, and it really showed a lot about our team. We just kept pounding and eventually pulled it off.”
While Johnson is focused and determined to finish off his senior season victorious, he’s still paying close attention to everything the Longhorns are doing on the field. What he’s seen from them thus far is what he had already imagined.
When asked what his thoughts were on the Longhorns this season, Johnson said, “Just like what I thought. I know they have the talent and the personnel to do it, it’s just about getting everybody along to play together and get things clicking.”
The offense his formulated a chemistry, and Johnson gives a ton of credit to starting quartergback Sam Ehlinger and the way he’s stepped up.
“They’re clicking right now,” Johnson told BON. “You see it with Sam. He’s operating the offense. He hasn’t thrown an interception since the first game. That’s just a matter of him clicking with the offense and just knowing what to do and where to go with the ball.”
Texas hasn’t seen consistent quarterback play since Colt McCoy was the signal caller, but things are definitely looking up in that department. Ehlinger has proven that he’s more than capable of running the offense and winning the crucial games, and his efforts are largely why the Longhorns are at 6-1 and No. 7 nationally.
Johnson has always been a fan of Ehlinger, marveling at the way Ehlinger plays the game and conducts himself off the field, but with that being said, Johnson is coming in to prove that he’s fully capable of being a key contributor as a true freshman.
“I’m happy for Sam,” Johnson said. “Growing up, freshmen year and then middle school years, seeing him at (Austin) Westlake I knew his name, I knew about him, and I’m just happy to see him thrive at the University that he always wanted to go to.”
“I’m not shying away from any competition,” Johnson added. “I mean, I want it just as bad as [Sam] does. When I get there I’m going to focus on myself and what I can contribute to the whole team.”
While many high level recruits are dominant at the high school level, most still have quite a bit to improve upon. Johnson realizes that and will continue to work on what he needs to develop as he prepares for the next level.
“Just my overall knowledge of the game,” Johnson said. “Where to go and what to do, and just reacting with poise. I feel like that’s so pivotal at the quarterback position. Just reacting to certain situations with poise and doing what you were coached to do.”
Speaking of coaching points, though, in what will be a quarterback room including Ehlinger, Rising, Thompson, and Shane Buechele, Johnson may be the most ideal prototype for what Herman looks for and has thrived with from the quarterback position. After all, he possesses similarities to Greg Ward (Houston), Braxton Miller (Ohio State), and J.T. Barrett (Ohio State).
Whether or not Johnson is ultimately able to grow into that same role and be utilized similarly remains to be seen, but after seeing Johnson in person, it’s clear he has to talent to live up to some of those comparisons.
At 6’1, 192 pounds, Johnson is ranked as the nation’s No. 214 prospect, and as the No. 28 player in the state, per the 247Sports Composite rankings.