Incoming South Carolina football freshman gets bumped up to 4-star rating

South Carolina football linebacker/EDGE Fred "JayR" Johnson was bumped up to 4-star territory by On3.
South Carolina football
South Carolina football / Streeter Lecka/GettyImages

South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer and his Gamecock coaching staff secured a top-20 high school recruiting class in the '24 cycle. With two 5-stars coming in for just the second time ever in the modern recruiting era, Carolina fans can't wait to see what the incoming freshmen can do when they start spring practice in March.

One of the most intriguing players in the class is Virginia native Fred "JayR" Johnson. Johnson had gotten very few Division-1 offers when the Gamecocks started recruiting him, and when he got an on-the-spot offer after an impressive camp showing (ran a 4.55 in the 40-yard dash and measured 6'4" at 225 pounds), it didn't take long for the talented athlete to commit to the South Carolina football program.

A natural football player who played all over the place for his Maury High School squad, Johnson was an All-State player as a wide receiver and as an all-purpose defensive weapon. Johnson played most of his snaps on defense as a stand-up linebacker and as an EDGE who caused havoc in opposing backfields.

It comes as no surprise that a player as productive and physically gifted as Johnson saw his recruiting rankings go up multiple times throughout the process. The most recent ratings bump for the incoming Gamecock freshman came courtesy of On3. The major recruiting outlet boosted their rating of the athletic linebacker into 4-star territory, and now as the 2024 cycle comes to an end, Johnson will be a 4-star by On3, Rivals, and 247Sports.

All three of those outlets have Johnson inside the top-20 linebackers in the country, and 247Sports has him as high as 8th (109th nationally, regardless of position).

With loads of veteran linebackers on the South Carolina football roster, 2024 likely won't be a season in which Johnson will be pressed into action before he is ready. His athleticism and tackling ability will play nicely on special teams, but other than that, he will be given plenty of time to develop before taking on college competition.

Johnson will start his career with the traditional linebackers but EDGE could be in his future, just like fellow incoming 4-star Wendell Gregory. Both players are extremely athletic and have a chance to be impact players at either position moving forward.

Next. South Carolina Football: Incoming freshman finishes recruiting cycle as nation's top player. South Carolina Football: Incoming freshman finishes recruiting cycle as nation's top player. dark