News & Updates

May 24

2011's early impact freshmen

Which first-year players are positioned to pay immediate dividends?

Anthony Johnson – Defensive Tackle

LSU does an outstanding job recruiting defensive linemen. Year after year they sign some of the top linemen in the southeast. They not only sign these payers, they develop and play them. When you watch LSU tape, you see that at least eight defensive linemen play in their rotation. This philosophy gives LSU the ability to keep fresh linemen on the game and also gives the younger players game experience in which to develop.

This is Johnson’s third year at LSU and his first as a starter, but he had gotten significant playing time in each of his first two years playing in the rotation. His nickname is “The Freak”, and that should tell you a little about his athleticism. Right now, he stands at about 6’3 -295. He came to LSU at over 330 and has worked to lose over 30 pounds. The weight loss has increased his speed, quickness, and stamina. He has excellent initial quickness and very good natural strength and power. He flashes dominating ability as both a run defender and a pass rusher. He doesn't have top instincts at this time. While he makes the dominant play, there are other plays where he does not know where the ball is.

He usually lines up as a defensive tackle, but in some packages he will line up on the nose in a 3-man line. With his power, he can be difficult to knock off the line. As a result, he is disruptive in the running game. So far in 2013, he only has two sacks, but he gets a lot of pressure and his ability to collapse the pocket makes the QB move. He still needs to develop better hand use.

Johnson has unlimited talent and the traits to become a Pro Bowl type player. At this time, he still needs to develop better hand use and his recognition skills need to improve. In saying that, more teams are going to look at the positives and figure they can fix the negatives. He will be a high pick, and unless he gets injured or his play drops off dramatically, he may be a top 10 pick when it’s all said and done. He best fits a 4-3 team as a 3-technique player, but he can really play in any scheme and be a productive player.