When Hazelwood Central (Florissant, Mo.) offensive lineman Roderick Johnson takes the field, people tend to take notice right away. Standing 6-foot-6 and weighing 320 pounds, the talented junior is definitely an imposing figure, but unlike most other players his size, this big man can get to the second or third level of a defense in no time at all.
“People that know me know that I can move, but people who don't know me think that I'm slow because of my size,” said Johnson. “I'm the type of lineman you can count on to get the job done and I'm going to come through for my coaches. I'm the guy that's going to push the pile when it needs to be pushed.”
Johnson and the Hawks finished with an 8-3 record in 2012. Two of those losses came in the first two games of the season and according to the Hazelwood Central standout this was unacceptable and had to get remedied quickly.
“We knew we had to get the ball rolling and pick a few things up on offense and defense,” he shared. “We had to fix a few kinks on the team and once we got our eyes open, we said, ‘Let's get on a roll and get this thing done.”
After having come to an understanding of what they expected from each other, the Hawks went on to win eight straight games before losing in the playoffs. The ability to bounce back from adversity is one of the main things Johnson hopes to pass on to the underclassmen coming up.
“You can only get better from where you started from and that will be my advice to the younger guys coming up,” he explained. “I'm definitely looking forward to helping lead my team next year and hopefully being successful.”
The Missouri product’s production on the field is already beginning to garner attention from the college football world and recruiters are already trying to draw the attention of the powerful lineman.
“Recruiting’s been going pretty well, and with the three-week dead period ending, things are starting to pick back up,” claimed Johnson. “I have about 10 to 15 offers right now from schools like Ohio State, Michigan State, Missouri, Illinois, Texas A&M and along those lines.”
One school he is hoping to hear from in the near future is Notre Dame.
“I know Notre Dame has one of the greatest academic programs in the nation,” he stated. “I also know that they have a very good football program and they’ve made it to the national championship game. The academic graduation rate there is incredible and they have very high standards. Their recruits graduate on time and it's a program that's proven.”
Johnson's list of what he'll be looking for in a college program is pretty much straight forward and to the point.
“There are three things I will be looking for when I choose a school,” shared the junior. “First and foremost, it must be a academic program. Next will be the football program and then life on and off the campus.”
With recruiting picking up heavily for the highly touted lineman, he's decided that he'll need to see a lot of these colleges in person before he'll be able to know who'll make his final list.
“I plan on making a lot of visits this year and I know that much for sure,” said Johnson. “If Notre Dame decides they're interested in me, I would definitely plan on visiting there.”