published Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Brentwood Academy junior Johnson commits to UT Vols

  • photo
    Ryan Johnson, a Brentwood Academy football player committing to Tennessee.

KNOXVILLE — Ryan Johnson didn't spend Saturday in Knoxville attending the Tennessee football program's second "Orange Carpet Day" event of the summer.

The Brentwood Academy offensive lineman added his name to the Volunteers' commitment list for 2016 instead.

The 6-foot-6, 270-pound rising junior announced his pledge on a Nashville radio station Saturday morning, choosing the home-state Vols over early verbal offers from Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Kansas State and interest from 30 other programs.

Johnson's father, Tyke, played at Hixson High School in the early 1980s and coached his son's football teams until he started the sixth grade.

"I've liked Tennessee my whole life, but I wanted to make sure it was the right place for me to go," Ryan Johnson told the Times Free Press by phone Saturday afternoon.

"About a couple of weeks ago, I decided I knew where I wanted to go. I took a look at a couple other schools to make sure I was making the right decision, and I figured out that was where I wanted to go."

Johnson is rated as a four-star prospect and ranked No. 201 overall and 17th among offensive tackles by 247Sports.com.

A host of other schools -- a list he said included most of the Southeastern Conferenc, plus Penn State, Stanford, Miami, UCLA, Southern California, Ohio State and Notre Dame -- expressed interest in him.

Born in Memphis, Johnson moved to middle Tennessee -- both his parents played sports at Austin Peay in Clarksville -- when he was 2 years old.

Johnson attended camps at Tennessee, Alabama and Ole Miss last month, and he took an unofficial visit to Tennessee's last "Orange Carpet Day," which produced a trio of verbal commitments for the Vols' 2015 class.

With so much early interest, Johnson and his parents created a spreadsheet to make the decision easier, but it was Tennessee that topped his list.

"It's my home school in my home state, so that helps," he said. "My family and my friends can come and see me, and they can watch me play and come every Saturday and watch me play. That's important to me."

After his son's commitment Saturday, Tyke Johnson posted a picture on his Twitter account of an orange brick bearing the words, "One Big Freakin' Brick," as second-year coach Butch Jones's mantra continues to resonate for the Vols.

"I like Tennessee's coaching staff, and especially I like Coach Mo [offensive line coach Don Mahoney]," Ryan Johnson said. "I like how he coaches. I like the relationship between the coaches and the players. I think that they have a really good relationship.

"Finally, I think that Tennessee's facilities and its fan base are really good. Their stadium, and that kind of goes along with their fan base, seeing 102,000 people, that's kind of special."

Contact Patrick Brown at pbrown@timesfreepress.com.

about Patrick Brown...

Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...

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