A week ago, current Iowa commit Reese Fleming that there was a "top prospect" committing soon. Fleming predicted Tuesday, but we didn't hear anything until late Wednesday afternoon when a few people around that Jaleel Johnson had made the decision to go to Iowa. On Thursday it was official presumably after Johnson called the Iowa coaches (the Eric Johnson "new member of the Iowa family" tweet didn't come out until Thursday morning).

Johnson is a consensus 4-star defensive tackle (Rivals, Scout, 247Sports). He is the sixth player in the 2012 Iowa recruiting class.

Johnson in High School

Johnson plays on both the offensive and defensive line for Montini Catholic High School, located just outside of Chicago. Montini is back-to-back Illinois Class 5A state champions.

  • 44 tackles, 7 TFL, 3 sacks

I usually only post one video, but the second showing Johnson going against and in some cases dominating a few of the top offensive linemen recruits in the country was too good not to post.

Initial Thoughts

The first thing that stands out with Johnson is his size. According to ESPN he's 6-4 and 295 pounds...and he still has a year of high school left. If he was on Iowa's roster today he'd be the second biggest defensive lineman, behind Carl Davis and the sixth biggest player overall behind a few offensive linemen. In his videos Johnson shows his strength and ability to lay a good hit. He even shows off his wheel running down field to make a block at about 0:37 in the first video.

Iowa has had success turning undersized guys into successful defensive tackles, so it'll be interesting to see what happens with some of these bigger guys. This year will be a good test with Carl Davis, who I think could win the spot next to Mike Daniels as the second tackle. Incoming freshman Darian Cooper is starting off with some size at 6-1, 280.

Defensive linemen are definitely needed, so Johnson's commitment is a great early get in the 2012 class. With 3 of the likely starters this year seniors (Daniel, Daniels, and Binns), there will be plenty of opportunity for an underclassman to start next year. I think Johnson will be able to come in and at least compete for a spot right away.