South Carolina Football: Gamecock commitment skyrocketing up the recruiting rankings

South Carolina Football helmet. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina Football helmet. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

Coming off of an official visit weekend to visit South Carolina football earlier in June, unranked linebacker prospect Fred “JayR” Johnson saw his stock rise in dramatic fashion as he became a high 3-star prospect almost overnight. Johnson had tested off the charts athletically during his unofficial visit the previous weekend and committed after the official.

Johnson burst onto the recruiting scene as he put up 40-yard dash times in the 4.5s and measured in at 6’3.5″ and 225 pounds. In short, the Norfolk, Virginia native is a freak of nature, and his two trips to Columbia exposed that secret to the rest of the world.

Now, less than three weeks later, Johnson is becoming a well-known commodity and is ascending the rankings again.

In a recent ratings update, Johnson has been graded as a 4-star prospect by 247Sports. His 92 rating puts him firmly inside the top-150 national prospects at #134. He has moved up to the 13th-highest graded linebacker and the #3 recruit in the entire state of Virginia.

Johnson’s athleticism has been on full display during his high school career as he is a full-time two-way player for Maury High School. He plays linebacker (both inside as a traditional linebacker and outside as a stand-up EDGE rusher) and wide receiver for the Commodores. That athleticism has South Carolina football fans fantasizing about just how good he can be.

With only four underclassmen linebackers on scholarship, recruiting at the position is extremely important. Johnson and fellow 4-star linebacker Wendell Gregory will join 4-star true freshman Grayson “Pup” Howard, redshirt freshman Jaron Willis, and sophomores Stone Blanton and Donovan Westmoreland as the linebackers of the future.

Johnson, like Howard, is a big linebacker. If he gets any bigger, he might have a future as a full-time EDGE player for the Gamecocks. Whether he is an EDGE or a more traditional linebacker, JayR is sure to become an important player for South Carolina football in the future.

You can watch some of his film here.