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Friday, June 17, 2011
Has Baylor found its successor to RG3?

By David Ubben

Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III still has two years of eligibility, but perhaps no player in college football has helped precipitate a program's rise the way Griffin has.

So, the question is obvious, even though Art Briles has helped build a deeper and better Bears team in his brief three seasons in Waco: What happens when Griffin leaves?

We won't know for sure until he actually does, but Briles got a big commitment on Wednesday from Jared Johnson, a quarterback from Grand Prairie, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. And who did Johnson pick the Bears over?

Oregon and Pittsburgh, to name a few.

"A lot of colleges only take one QB in a recruiting class, so it does put slight pressure to make a decision," Johnson told Sporting News. "I loved the vibe of the coaches and their coaching style and I loved the university and all it has to offer. ... College coaches like my style of play because I have grown as a passer as I’ve matured, and I can make all the throws, but I'm also a good athlete that will make plays when things break down."

Johnson, a 6-foot, 195-pounder, sounds like a perfect fit for Baylor's offense, which requires a mobile quarterback like Griffin to operate the way Briles wants it to. If Griffin stays four years and Johnson sticks with Baylor through February, he'll have a year to sit and learn from one of the most experienced QBs the Big 12 has ever seen, and compete for the job in the 2013 season.

Here's our scouts' take on Johnson:
"If Johnson was taller he would be a high profile BCS level recruit. However, his height is limiting his recruitment, but that does not negate the fact that Johnson can really sling it. He has good bulk and a very live arm. His release is so smooth and consistent and he is capable of making every throw on the field when his feet are set. He is a pocket passer first. He possesses very good arm strength. Shows great zip on the deep out route. Shows touch and timing as a vertical passer. Can drive the ball downfield and will fit it into tight spots. Has a quick release and shows the ability to get rid of the ball in a hurry. He shows good overall accuracy. Displays nice RPMs on intermediate routes. Works primarily from the shotgun and wastes little time getting set, working through progressions and getting the ball out. He is a good athlete, but a passer first. Can and will run, can keep plays alive and throws very well on the move and when off balance. Has the arm to make deep downfield throws on the move and across his frame. Makes a lot of plays on his own with his feet and is a threat to run."

It's pretty obvious why Briles wanted him. That sounds like a young Griffin III to me. Johnson, ranked by ESPN as the nation's No. 68 quarterback, gives the Bears another addition to a solid recruiting class.

He's the 10th player in the 2012 class to commit to the Bears.

Last year, as a junior at South Grand Prairie High, Johnson passed for 1,600 yards and 18 touchdowns, and added 579 yards and seven scores on the ground.

On a final note, considering how many times Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson was called "Jared," it'll be nice to finally have someone in the Big 12 who fits the moniker.