Commitment day arrived for three-star Red Oak (Texas) tight end Kelsey Johnson.
On Sunday, Johnson put a pin in his recruitment by committing to Baylor. Florida State, Connecticut and Liberty were among the other suitors for the Dallas-area tight end, who picked up an offer from the in-state Bears just two weeks earlier. Associate head coach and area recruiter Joey McGuire led Baylor’s efforts with the one of Texas’ top tight ends in 2022 along with new offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes.
Baylor did not sign a tight end in 2021, so the early pledge form Johnson looms large toward restocking the roster at the position. Johnson is the fourth member of the Bears’ 2022 recruiting class and the third in-state prospect. Baylor’s class ranked No. 35 nationally on Rivals entering the day.
IN HIS OWN WORDS
“Me, my parents and my coaches believed that this was the right time to commit because of the pandemic. Honestly, Baylor felt like too much of a perfect fit to pass up and with the dead period being pushed back, there’ll be no college visits any time soon.”
“I visited Baylor as a freshman and was very impressed with the university and city as a whole. I knew Baylor was the place for me and I believed no other offer could change my mind about wanting to go to Baylor so I decided to pull the trigger and gone commit.”
“The staff has been excellent. There’s a different type of energy I feel when talking to their staff and it was no doubt that they wanted me. What (Jeff) Grimes did with Isaac Rex back at BYU stuck out to me and there’s nothing better for a tight end then having your position coach be the offensive coordinator. Baylor is also very prestigious in the academic realm and you always have to prepare for life after football.”
“Coach Grimes, Coach Juice (Johnson), Coach (Joey) McGuire, and Coach (James) Blanchard. When I first talked to McGuire, he made it known that they want me there. With Coach Juice, Coach Blanchard and Coach Grimes, every conversation makes it feel like I’m talking to one of my best friends because I can be myself and that connection is unreal. Coach Blanchard just brings a different energy every time we contact each other. When I see his name pop up on my phone I already know that I need to prepare for how hype he gets just to be able to talk to me.”
“Once I get to Waco I plan to make an immediate impact off the field. I’ll like to go out in the community and get my name out there in the classroom and the community. Of course, the visions in football are to be the best player I can be, but there are things bigger than the game of football and that’s why I chose to come to Baylor. The coaches see me as a perfect fit for their offensive scheme. They see me as a person who they can trust to excel off the field as well as produce big plays on the field since the tight end position is a huge piece of Coach Grimes’s offense.”
Johnson, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound tight end from Red Oak (Texas) High School, was an All-District 4-5A First-Team selection in 2020 and has a background in track and field as a member of the relay team.
As a sophomore, Johnson turned 17 catches into 448 yards and eight touchdowns. He built on that with 28 receptions for 383 yards and six scores this past season. Overall, Johnson has accounted for 14 touchdowns the past two seasons on 45 total grabs.
Johnson is an old-school tight end with elements of new-age pass-catching upside embedded in his game. He’s a savvy blocker that plays with a noticeable motor and capable of mauling defenders in the run game and also staying in-line to block or pass protect on a given down. He’s a finisher as a blocker, which was a major improvement from Johnson’s sophomore to junior seasons.
Johnson also lines up out wide or as a flex tight end in the slot. He’s a big target with excellent hands and an impressive catch radius. He’s sure-handed and is a safety valve for his quarterback between the numbers in the middle of the field and in the short and intermediate passing attack. He can stretch the seams and effectively move the sticks as a pass-catcher. While he doesn’t have high-end speed, Johnson is physical after the catch and difficult to corral in space. His physicality as a blocker rears itself as a receiver.