Take Two: Can the Vols bring Antonio Johnson back into fold?
Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling an issue in the college football landscape. Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from Rivals.com national recruiting director Mike Farrell and an expert from the Rivals.com network of team sites or a regional analyst.
Tennessee landed a huge recruiting win early this summer when four-star safety Antonio Johnson committed to the Volunteers but less than two months later he has backed off that pledge and will look at other programs.
Johnson’s de-commitment comes right after a trip to Texas A&M so some people believe the Aggies could be the team to beat now for the East St. Louis, Ill., standout.
However, others seem to think Johnson was going to de-commit from Tennessee anyway because he realized he made a snap decision and it just so happens that he took that Texas A&M visit during that time period.
The Volunteers are definitely not out of Johnson’s recruitment and it could definitely help that East St. Louis teammate and three-star OL Javontez Spraggins remains committed to Tennessee.
Is a re-commitment to Tennessee the most likely outcome for Johnson or will the Vols’ loss be another SEC team’s gain when it comes to landing the rangy four-star defensive back?
TAKE ONE: Josh Helmholdt, Rivals.com Midwest analyst
“This was a de-commitment anyone who was paying attention could see coming from miles away. As far back as the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge in June, Johnson was hinting that he may have made his decision too soon. Texas A&M was a visit he was supposed to make prior to his surprising early June commitment to Tennessee, but no matter where Johnson would have visited in that last week of July, as long as he had a good visit it was likely to be the catalyst to a de-commitment.
"This was about Johnson realizing he committed before he was ready. I have talked with people around him since the de-commitment who still feel Tennessee is the team to beat, and having his teammate Spraggins committed will help as the Volunteers try to reel the Rivals100 safety back in. But, there is a lot of recruiting yet to be done here. Look for official visits to be scheduled soon, with Alabama and Kentucky as likely destinations along with A&M and Tennessee.”
TAKE TWO: Mike Farrell, Rivals.com National recruiting director
“He can re-commit to a school and the closer you are to a school in proximity, that certainly helps. I think now Texas A&M is the school a lot of people think he will end up at and he de-committed right after an A&M visit. There might be no coincidence there.
“I think he’s going to end up at Texas A&M, but Tennessee and some others are certainly not out of it. Re-committing is one of those things where it’s become more and more common, but in this one I still think Texas A&M is going to get him.”