It finally clicked for AJ Johnson.
Johnson, a four-star wide receiver at New Orleans (La.) Isidore Newman, committed to LSU on Friday. The in-state Tigers edged out Georgia, Alabama and Miami for the Rivals250 wide receiver currently tabbed as the nation’s No. 185 player in the Class of 2022.
Johnson joins a star-studded 2022 recruiting class that features notable in-state pieces like Rivals100 quarterback Walker Howard, Rivals100 offensive tackle Will Campbell and Rivals250 prospects such as Laterrance Welch and Aaron Anderson.
Four of Louisiana’s top-10 prospects in 2022 are already committed to LSU.
Johnson is tabbed as the state’s No. 10-ranked player and No. 185 overall. He jolts LSU’s 2022 haul as No. 3 in the country on Rivals.
“Coach O and Mickey Joseph, they’re really into me honestly,” Johnson told Rivals ahead of his junior year. “Like they said, they can’t wait to watch me and Arch play. I talked to Coach O on FaceTime and Mickey Joseph and they are excited to see me play. That has been really exciting for me to talk to Coach O. His voice is pretty funny. What he likes to say is “Hold that Tiger,’ so I can’t wait. We FaceTime a lot and get on the phone every week or two. Me and Mickey Joseph get on the phone to talk and get to know each other. When he passes phone to Coach O it shocks me a little bit. We’re building a relationship there since i don’t have the offer yet.”
The Tigers offered Johnson in October right after his junior season began. It was his first varsity action in more than two years.
Johnson, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound wide receiver, led Newman in receiving with 40 receptions for 558 yards and six touchdowns as a junior, earning All-District, All-Metro and All-State honors in his first season back on the football field since his breakout freshman campaign at Eleanor McMain High in 2018.
Johnson is a big-framed wideout with a massive vertical (40 inches) and recently clocked a 4.5 40 in January 2021. He’s also a two-sport athlete that plays on the baseball team.
After a freshman campaign where he flashed a pass-catcher at McMain, Johnson sat as a sophomore at Newman and quickly emerged as their leading receiver this past fall. Johnson is a massive target for his quarterback, Arch Manning, with an impressive wingspan and equally as impressive catch radius. Johnson has sure hands and can out-jump or out-physical defenders for contested catches and reel in passes between the hashes.
Johnson is also a technical route-runner and continuing to evolve in that area. He’s footwork is sound to make difficult grabs along the sidelines and in tight fields.
Johnson has continued to tack on weight and build up his frame, and as a result, he’s been a more physical pass-catcher able to make catches through contact. He’s also a downhill runner in the open field, which is a major problem for defenders.
Johnson is a power forward that can stretch the field vertically with 4.5 speed but also move the sticks on short and intermediate routes. He finds holes in coverage and presents a big target for his quarterback and has continued to improve since a standout freshman season.