Penn State's Austin Johnson was not only a football-ace in high school, but an all-state performer as well. He was named all-state and ranked among the top 25 defensive lineman in the nation by Scout.com. Johnson redshirted in his true freshman season (2012), but went on to play in all 12 games his redshirt freshman season, totaling 27 tackles, three for loss, one sack and one fumble recovery.
Johnson continued to escalate his play in his sophomore campaign, recording 49 tackles, six for loss, 3 pass break ups and two fumble recoveries. Johnson's junior season was one to remember. He earned first team All-Big Ten from the Associated Press and Athlon Sports, second team All-Big Ten from the media and third team All-Big Ten by the coaches in response to his 78 tackles, 15 for loss and six sacks.
Weight: 314 lbs
40 Yard Dash: 5.32
Arm Length: 32 ¾"
Bench Press Reps (BPR): 25
3 Cone Drill: 7.84 seconds
How He Compares To Other Defensive Lineman
Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA (6'3", 314 lbs): 5.06 40 yard dash, 29 BPR
Andrew Billings, NT, Baylor (6'1", 311 lbs): 5.05 40 yard dash, 31 BPR
A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama (6'4", 307 lbs): 5.20 40 yard dash, 22 BPR
Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville (6'1", 299 lbs): 5.03 40 yard dash, 28 BPR
- Outstanding frame and moves well for a big man
- Strong bull rush to collapse the pocket
- Hard to control when he gets his legs underneath him
- Plays with the upmost effort and passion - rarely will you see him shutdown his motor when the play is away from him
- Garnered an eye-popping 78 tackles for an interior lineman
- Biggest weakness is that Johnson commonly allows offensive lineman to get into his chest
- Despite the numbers, he is a below-average to average pass rusher
- Slow off the ball - needs to engage opposition quicker and take over the neutral zone
- Frequently stands straight up at the snap of the ball and struggles with pad level - leading to him becoming off-balance prematurely
The impressive numbers he sports may not entirely translate to the next level, but his traits and instincts certainly will. He will need to improve upon some aspects of his game, but he possesses the size, athleticism and heart you would like to see in a nose tackle. He will be an effective block-eater who can keep linebackers clean, and with correct coaching, further his pass rushing effectiveness. The ceiling is not particularly high with Johnson, but he looks like he can have a lengthy career in the trenches on Sundays in three-and four-man fronts.