NCF On The Trail: Jocquell Johnson

Recruiting hits and misses: SEC West

February, 6, 2014

Now that the fax machines are quiet, the 2014 signing classes have been announced and before we start looking ahead to 2015, let's take a moment to examine how each of the SEC schools did in filling immediate needs via recruiting.

We're checking out what all 14 teams did to fill holes, and we're looking at which holes still remain. We'll start with the SEC West (click here for the SEC East):


Needs filled: It was obvious Alabama needed help at cornerback, and the Crimson Tide went out and got two of the best in the country in five-star prospects Tony Brown and Marlon Humphrey. Pass rushers were also a priority, which makes five-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand and four-star outside linebackers Rashaan Evans and Christian Miller key pickups. Cameron Robinson, yet another five-star prospect, could end up starting at left tackle next season on the offensive line.

Holes remaining: The Crimson Tide could have used another marquee receiver and lost out on No. 1 wideout Malachi Dupre to LSU. With Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Vinnie Sunseri both heading early to the NFL, the Tide also might have come up short at safety.


Needs filled: The Hogs’ passing game was in need of a jump-start, and getting an ESPN 300 player out of Miami the caliber of JoJo Robinson adds another playmaker to the equation. Arkansas’ offensive line class is equally impressive with four-star prospects Brian Wallace and Frank Ragnow and three-star prospect Jovan Pruitt joining Denver Kirkland and Dan Skipper from last year’s class.

Holes remaining: The highest-ranked player in the Hogs’ class was defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson of El Dorado, Ark., which was big considering they need help everywhere on defense. But they missed out on a pair of highly ranked defensive ends in Solomon Thomas and Demetrius Jackson.


Needs filled: Gus Malzahn called ESPN 300 prospect Tre' Williams the key to the class, and he should provide an immediate boost at linebacker. With Chris Davis departing, the Tigers also needed to replenish at cornerback, which is where four-star prospects Kalvaraz Bessent and Stephen Roberts come in. Both were ranked in the top 10 nationally at their position. With Greg Robinson leaving early for the NFL draft, it was good to add muscle on the offensive line with ESPN 300 prospect Braden Smith, who could play guard or tackle.

Holes remaining: The sting of losing Evans, who’s from Auburn, to Alabama could be felt for a while. He's the kind of explosive athlete who would fit on any defense, and the Tigers need more of those guys, particularly at linebacker.


Needs filled: The loss of running back Jeremy Hill early to the NFL draft was lessened by landing Leonard Fournette, the No. 1 overall prospect in this class. It only got better for the Tigers’ offense on signing day when the country’s No. 1 receiver, Dupre, said he would play his college football on the Bayou. Safety was a real sore spot on defense last season, so getting ESPN 300 prospect Jamal Adams was a major pickup. Adams is rated by ESPN RecruitingNation as the No. 2 safety in the 2014 class.

Holes remaining: Robinson would have been a nice centerpiece on that LSU offensive line, but Alabama came into West Monroe, La., and swiped the five-star prospect. The Tigers also lost five-star athlete Speedy Noil of New Orleans to Texas A&M.


Needs filled: Junior college signee Jocquell Johnson is already on campus and will battle for a starting job next season on an offensive line that’s losing two starters, including All-SEC guard Gabe Jackson. The Bulldogs also added a pair of playmakers at receiver in ESPN 300 prospects Jamoral Graham and Jesse Jackson. Flipping 6-foot-6, 265-pound defensive lineman Cory Thomas from Tennessee on signing day added some more punch to an already deep and talented defensive line in Starkville.

Holes remaining: More secondary help would have been nice, which is why losing cornerback Tee Shepard to Ole Miss on signing day was a downer. A couple of the offensive linemen the Bulldogs wanted, Jordan Sims and Sean Rawlings, also opted for Ole Miss.


Needs filled: The Rebels wanted to continue to stockpile talent on the offensive line after reeling in Laremy Tunsil and Austin Golson a year ago and did that with four-star prospects Rod Taylor, Tyler Putman and Sims. Upgrading the defense was also a priority, which is why beating Alabama for ESPN 300 safety C.J. Hampton was so important along with getting ESPN 300 defensive end Garrald McDowell out of Louisiana. Flipping junior college cornerback Shepard from Mississippi State was a nice signing day coup.

Holes remaining: You can never have enough defensive linemen in the SEC, so losing defensive tackle Michael Sawyers to Tennessee was a blow. The same goes for ESPN 300 defensive end Davon Godchaux, who stuck with his commitment and signed with LSU.


Needs filled: With Johnny Manziel taking his show to the NFL, Texas A&M has to find a quarterback. Early enrollee Kyle Allen is an ESPN 300 prospect and ranked as the No. 1 pocket passer in this class. Noil, another early enrollee, should help fill a void with big-play receiver Mike Evans headed to the NFL, and the Aggies also loaded up on offensive linemen, including a pair of junior college signees. Any help on defense was a priority, which makes five-star defensive end Myles Garrett one of the keys to the class.

Holes remaining: The Aggies are still thin at safety after swinging and missing on several of their top targets in this class, including Adams, Steven Parker II and Mattrell McGraw. They also had ESPN 300 safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner committed but lost him to Boise State when Marcel Yates took the defensive coordinator job there.

Weekly Commitment Roundup

May, 24, 2013
Adam Choice RB, Thomasville, Ga./Thomas County Central
HT: 5-9 WT: 196
Position Rank: #26 RB
Stars: 4

C.J. Fuller RB, Easley, S.C./Easley
HT: 5-10 WT: 204
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

North Carolina
D'Ernest Johnson RB, Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee
HT: 5-11 WT: 182
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

North Carolina State
Sean Bowens OLB, Port Saint Lucie, Fla./Treasure Coast
HT: 6-2 WT: 220
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Keith Ford DT, Bluffton, S.C./Bluffton
HT: 6-1 WT: 270
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Big 12
Patrick Lawrence OT, Waxahachie, Texas/Waxahachie
HT: 6-5 WT: 245
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Ishmael Zamora WR, Houston, Texas/Elsik
HT: 6-4 WT: 201
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Alex Dalton OC, Troy, Ohio/Troy
HT: 6-4 WT: 280
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Carson Meier TE-Y, Tulsa, Okla./Tulsa Union
HT: 6-6 WT: 220
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Tito Windham CB, Gulfport, Miss./Harrison Central
HT: 5-9 WT: 174
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Johnny Shaw S, Center, Texas/Center
HT: 6-2 WT: 188
Class of 2015

Big East
T.J. Foster WR, Union, S.C./Union County
HT: 6-2 WT: 175
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Kamren Lott CB, Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast
HT: 5-10 WT: 180
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Big Ten
Trevor Kanteman TE-Y, West Hills, Calif./Pierce College (JC)
HT: 6-4 WT: 245
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Ohio State
Dante Booker OLB, Akron, Ohio/St. Vincent-St. Mary
HT: 6-3 WT: 215
Position Rank: #8 OLB
Stars: 4

Tre Watson RB, Corona, Calif./Centennial
HT: 5-10 WT: 184
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Washington State
Paris Taylor S, Woodland Hills, Calif./Pierce College (JC)
HT: 6-3 WT: 225
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Cyontai Lewis TE-H, Tuscaloosa, Ala./Northridge
HT: 6-4 WT: 230
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Mississippi State
Jocquell Johnson OT, Jackson, Miss./Copiah-Lincoln CC (JC)
HT: 6-5 WT: 305
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Missouri Paul Adams OT, Nashville, Tenn./Christ Presbyterian Academy
HT: 6-7 WT: 262
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

South Carolina
Shameik Blackshear DE, Bluffton, S.C./Bluffton
HT: 6-4 WT: 235
Class of 2015

Dexter Neal WR, Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson
HT: 6-2 WT: 195
Class of 2015

Aaron Medley K, Lewisburg, Tenn./Marshall County
HT: 6-2 WT: 165
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Darel Middleton TE-Y, Powell, Tenn./Powell
HT: 6-5 WT: 230
Class of 2016

Juco OT Jocquell Johnson makes the call

May, 23, 2013
Mississippi State has landed a commitment from Copiah-Lincoln Community College (Wesson, Miss.) offensive tackle Jocquell Johnson, multiple sources report.

Johnson, a 6-foot-5, 305-pound prospect whose originally from Jackson, Miss., was also offered by Ole Miss and Jackson State.

Copiah-Lincoln head coach Glenn Davis spoke with the Clarion Ledger about Johnson's decision: "They recruited him the hardest out of high school. They've kept as much contact as they could have with him since he's been there. They've been after him the hardest and stuck with him through the whole process."

The Bulldogs now have four 2014 pledges. Their class is currently headlined by ESPN 150 athlete Jamoral Graham (Decatur, Miss./Newton County).