The mantra of the recruiting staff for decades has been to “win South Florida.” Players like senior safety Jaquan Johnson are the reason why. The 5’11”, 195 lb consensus 4-star recruit out of Miami Killian High School turned away offers from Alabama, LSU, Florida and Florida State to stay home and return the Canes to their former glory. After enduring the last year of Al Golden’s tenure, Johnson saw his first extended run manning the back end of the Canes defense during his sophomore season, totaling 38 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 2 pass break-ups and an interception. Last season, he took a huge step forward and became one of the undisputed leaders of one the best defenses in the country, racking up 96 tackles, 4 interceptions, 4 pass break-ups, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Miami’s resident gatekeeper in the defensive backfield became a sure tackler, a constant homing missile in the run game, and the ultimate ball hawk last season. He racked up the accolades, earning ACC Defensive Back of the week 3 times (in 3 consecutive weeks), as wellas being named to the All-ACC Second Team and Second Team All-America (Sports Illustrated, AFCA). Jaquan Johnson has the talent to lead the Canes defense to national prominence once again, and should find his name in consideration on Day 1 of the 2019 NFL Draft. But what will drive the Miami-native to his full potential during his time in Coral Gables is his devotion to the program, as evidenced by his efforts to dissaude RJ McIntosh and Kendrick Norton from leaving early for the NFL. While he wasn’t successful in that regard, the effort did not go unnoticed by Canes Fans. While Jaquan Johnson has already demonstrated respect and contributed to the Canes Legacy, he can further cement his place in the Miami pantheon with another stellar season of acrobatic interceptions, bone crushing hits and sideline poses with the turnover chain.