Updated: May 9
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
The #1 Tight End In America has made it official!
Oconee High's pass-catching titan Jake Johnson is now committed to the LSU Tigers and according to father Brad, Jake will also be an early enrollee!
In our exclusive interview with the should-be 5 star WR/TE hybrid, we ask Jake how he came to his decision, one which took "a lot of time, prayer and energy" as he pointed out.
Now the answer is clear:
HOLD THAT TIGER!
In the aftermath of the young man's solid steel commitment, LSU's staff are thrilled with their major 2022 victory here....Johnson may already be one of the most dynamic aerial threats of the entire 2022 class...accordingly, every LSU fan should be celebrating right alongside Coach O, TE's Coach Derek Shay, Jake Peetz & D.J Mangas:
Adding 6 foot 5 Jake Johnson to their nearly historic 2022 class, LSU's booming receiving corps only grows in athletic versatility and endless possibility, a trend which will only continue its upward trajectory due to the arrival of talents like Oconee's heralded pass-catcher.
And, when you consider Jake's blood-born chemistry with older brother Max, a strong contender for the starting quarterback position over the next two or three seasons, some extremely tantalizing prospects abound for the Purple & Gold Nation.
During the fall of 2019, as Heisman-winner & #1 overall pick Joe Burrow led LSU on a magical title run, Jake and Max Johnson were inspired by the Tigers to make their own ascendancy possible, catapulting Oconee High School to the 2019 State Championship Game.
Together, the Brothers Johnson produced highlight reel moments throughout their lone campaign together, specifically in the red zone where Jake became nearly unstoppable, hauling in 10 total receiving touchdowns as a sophomore.
When faced with a tough one on one or double coverage, Max trusted his younger brother every time, tossing the ball skyward and simply giving Jake a well-timed chance...one opening...one inch...one second........possessing such singular dominance in the air, that was all Jake required to provide the difference.
Across his young career, there's moments where LSU's 2022 "tight end" defies this label completely, breaking tackles as well as ankles with his underrated power & agility combo.
Judging by his performances, Johnson is dangerous in the open field & boasts deceptive pace (which may have an incalculable big play potential) when creating separation or after the catch (21.2 yards per catch in 2019, 14.1 last year).
How many tight ends do you know average those kind of numbers?
There's a play where the WR/TE hybrid bails out his scrambling brother with a secondary route before barreling through defenders towards the goal-line.....then, Jake geauxs into orbit...he launches himself toward the end zone, reaching out and scoring from five yards away!
The second I witnessed that moment of footballing daredevilry, I shouted to myself:
"Jake Johnson is a sultan!"
But no, no, no...his story gets even better.
Once his older brother departed for LSU, you'd think his productivity would decrease, right?
It would've been understandable...2020 was a pandemic year where routines were rocked by shortened schedules, infrequent practicing and interminable delays; it was also the first year without Max at quarterback (not only is Max a very tough quarterback to replace, there's no replicating telepathic brotherly chemistry when you don't have the real deal).
By all logical thinking, 2020 should've been a down year for the Georgia-native....
...Instead, he had his best season thus far:
The newest 2022 Tiger eclipsed his sophomore year by 4 touchdowns, 58 yards & 23 receptions this past season, conjuring moments of footballing savagery which saw his name skyrocket up the recruiting service rankings. Finally, after the conclusion of a monster junior campaign, Jake was named the #1 tight end in America.
Over back to back seasons at Oconee High, Johnson has posted 24 combined touchdowns, catching 10+ scores each season, 97 total receptions and in excess of 1,500 yards, proving what an absolute weapon he can be for any offense. Jake could be seen constantly moving the chains & wearing down defenders due to his formidable skill, speed and behemoth size.
Able to play out wide, in the slot, or blocking a left tackle into submission from a traditional stance, Johnson is the complete receiving dynamo Tiger fans should be extremely excited about.
Standing 6'5, nobody can compete against this young air traffic controller, and at 210 pounds with his senior year still months away, you know he'll only continue to thicken.
Thanks to his father Brad's Super Bowl-winning background, as well as watching his older brother go through the same recruiting process only a year prior, Jake was already mature and confident heading into his recruitment process.
Although he had many suitors, including Alabama's Nick Saban, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Miami....even Big 10 pair Michigan and Penn State, today's LSU commitment feels like destiny fulfilled.
LSUODYSSEY.COM caught up with the #1 TE in America Jake Johnson on the eve of his commitment:
LONN: It's official, Jake! Welcome To The Tigers!! Why did you choose LSU?
JAKE: I feel like my skill set can be maximized in the LSU system with Coach Peetz as the coordinator. I can play the TE position and then be flexed out as a receiver also.
To play with my brother Max is a no brainer too!
Also, to play in big time games and win championships at LSU will be fun.
I felt like I could be developed facing great competition in practice daily and look forward to big time ball in the SEC which I have watched all my life.
LONN: When was the moment you knew LSU was your pick?
JAKE: About two weeks ago. I had developed some really good relationships with other coaches from other schools that were recruiting me which was tough to end.
Over time, I had very good relationships with Coach Shay and Coach Tyler O.
But getting to know Coach Peetz in how I could be used and to be with Max (sealed it).
It just finally made sense to commit.
I FaceTimed Coach O last weekend and committed.
Coach O always recruited me separate from Max and that was important too, I’m very happy about my decision.
LONN: So, how are ya'll geauxing to celebrate?!
JAKE: I told Coach O last weekend with the other coaches so we kinda already celebrated.
LONN: Has it ever been a driving force, to say "i know my brother's good, but look at what I can do!"??
JAKE: No not really. Wish we threw the ball more and I could catch 100 balls a year, but I’m just doing whatever I can with the opportunities I get. Max is my best friend and he is tuff as nails. I really like catching it from him. Excited to be with him again.
LONN: Who is the player you feel you model your game after most?
JAKE: Obviously Kelce and Gronk are the top two TEs. I think I can play play all over the field, so that’s what I’m looking for.
LONN: When Coach O first recruited you, was that always his mission: getting you both together?
JAKE: He just told us he was going to recruit us separate. If LSU called the house it was never on the same phone call. They would always call twice for us individually. And they evaluated us separately. Max and I both had choices to make in schools and it just worked out that LSU was the last call for us.
WELCOME TO LSU JAKE!
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2021 Uninterrupted Writings Inc LLC
SHOUTOUTS: Thank you & Congratulations to the Johnson Family!!!
RIP KORI GAUTHIER