Breaks down his decision with TCI
Clemson has landed its first commitment from a defensive lineman in the 2019 recruiting class.
Williamsport (Md.) three-star defensive tackle Tayquon Johnson announced his commitment to the Tigers on Monday.
Johnson was kind enough to speak with The Clemson Insider about his decision prior to the announcement.
“It was based off of how the staff interacted with some of their football players, just the way that they run their program,” Johnson said. “They prioritize developing men first, they prioritize education, and football is pretty much last. They always say they’re great at the X’s and O’s, but developing men is our responsibility.”
Johnson (6-2, 290) chose Clemson over offers from Alabama, Penn State, Georgia, Texas A&M, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, Rutgers and Temple.
Both Alabama and Penn State offered him last week. Kentucky gave him his first Power Five offer in February, and offers from Texas A&M, Virginia and Rutgers followed shortly thereafter.
What set the Tigers apart from his other suitors?
“Just how nice the coaching staff was,” Johnson said. “They’re awesome guys with awesome qualities and even better coaches. I believe that we have a strong relationship coming in.
“They want you to do what’s best for you. They don’t hold grudges. It’s about business, it’s about developing players as men and it’s developing to win football games.”
Clemson played host to Johnson for the first time in April. He then returned to campus late last week, and the Tigers sealed the deal for his services.
“My first time, it was like I was a kid in a candy store, and I had to make sure it was real,” Johnson said of Clemson. “I had to go down and look at everything from a personal perspective and understand this is the school that I would be possibly be going to for the next five years.”
Confident that Clemson’s the right fit, Johnson felt no need to delay his commitment. He wants to focus on his academics and senior season, and intends to sign with Dabo Swinney’s program during the early period in December.
“I wanted to be one of the first ones to sign in the 2019 class,” he said.
Johnson has flown mostly beneath the radar as a recruit but recently started to emerge as a more known commodity. He is currently ranked by 247Sports as the No. 10 prospect from Maryland, No. 31 defensive tackle and No. 492 overall prospect in the 2019 class, though those rankings should rise moving forward.
As a junior at Williamsport High School, Johnson tallied 87 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and eight sacks in nine games, while also rushing for 55 yards and six touchdowns on 14 carries. He was named the Washington County defensive player of the year by The Herald-Mail. Johnson began his high school career at St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C.
Johnson becomes the first D-line commitment and 12th overall commitment in Clemson’s 2019 class, joining safety Joseph Charleston, wide receiver Brannon Spector, tight end Jaelyn Lay, punter Aidan Swanson, linebacker Bryton Constantin, quarterback Taisun Phommachanh, wide receiver Frank Ladson, safety Lannden Zanders, running back Chez Mellusi, cornerback Sheridan Jones and linebacker Keith Maguire.