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Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Scout's take: Kerryon Johnson to Auburn

By Gerry Hamilton

Kerryon Johnson, the No. 26 player in the ESPN Junior 300, committed to the Auburn Tigers on Tuesday over Florida State and Alabama. Here’s what his pledge means:

What it means: Johnson is a huge win for Auburn’s recruiting effort. Not only did the Tigers beat out archrival Alabama for the Under Armour All-American, but also national title game opponent Florida State. This is a big feather in the cap for Gus Malzahn and his staff as they continue to prove they can consistently compete with anyone. On the field, the 6-foot, 200-pounder is a talented running back who also possesses the versatility to play safety at a high level.

What he brings: Johnson could get play on either side of the ball, but for Auburn it looks like this thickly-built, explosive prospect is going to line up in the backfield. Johnson will give Malzahn’s offense a powerful downhill presence that will draw defenders into the box and use his burst to exploit a crease for big gainers.

Strength of commitment: Auburn stands a great chance of holding on to and signing Johnson. The Auburn staff has been recruiting Johnson at running back the longest, which is key. Others have waffled between recruiting Johnson as a safety, athlete or running back.

Percentage to hold: 90 percent

Biggest threat: When the competition for a player like Johnson is Alabama and Florida State, it’s nearly impossible to say that a commitment in April is 100 percent because neither school will walk away until the signature is dry on signing day in 2015.

Who’s next on their board? For Florida State, Jacques Patrick and Johnny Frasier are top targets at running back, and the Seminoles already have Derwin James Jr. and Calvin Brewton committed at safety. Alabama has running back DeSherrius Flowers in the fold, but will continue to recruit a second back with Jovon Robinson. At safety, Deionte Thompson is on board with Montrell Custis a possibility to play safety at the next level.