Fact or Fiction: Hunter Johnson will live up to his five-star hype
In today’s Fact or Fiction, national columnist Mike Farrell looks at three big recent topics in college football and decides whether each statement is indeed FACT or if it’s FICTION.
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1. Hunter Johnson will finally live up to the five-star hype.
Farrell’s take: FICTION. Remember him? The former Clemson five-star recruit was another transfer victim of Trevor Lawrence’s emergence at Dabo Swinney’s program, and he transferred closer to home to Northwestern. However, after an awful season in 2019 with more interceptions than touchdowns he barely played last season.
Many expected South Carolina transfer Ryan Hilinski to win the job, but Johnson was just recently named the starter. Johnson has size and a talented arm, but I just don’t see a way he rebounds to become a first-round pick as is expected of a five-star. Heck, he needs a great year to be drafted. But Northwestern fans will be hoping I’m very wrong on this one.
2. Will Levis will put up better numbers in the SEC than Emory Jones or JT Daniels.
Farrell’s take: FACT. I expect Matt Corral at Ole Miss to put up the biggest numbers at quarterback in the SEC, but you certainly hear a lot about SEC East starters JT Daniels at UGA and Emory Jones at Florida. But there are two names you don’t hear a lot about — Will Levis and Liam Coen at Kentucky.
Levis is a Penn State transfer and just won the starting job in Lexington, and Coen comes from the NFL, where he learned from L.A. Rams coach Sean McVay and is now the offensive brain of the Wildcats. And what people don’t know is that Levis has as much natural arm talent as anyone in the country, including Spencer Rattler at Oklahoma and Sam Howell at UNC. Coen is a very bright young mind who wants to throw the ball. Levis could be the surprise of the SEC. Keep an eye out.
3. Tony Grimes is the best young cornerback in the ACC.
Farrell’s take: FACT. Think about the established names at cornerback in the ACC. There really aren’t any, with Caleb Farley off to the NFL, Derion Kendrick to the SEC and Andrew Booth as the only ACC corner in my NFL Draft top 10 heading into the season. That opens the door for some young corners, and Grimes heads that list for me.
The UNC sophomore should be heading into his freshman year, but he accelerated graduation and showed flashes of his skill last season. And watch out this year. I fully expect Grimes to finish the season as at least a second-team All-ACC performer and for NFL scouts to take note.