Jadar Johnson impresses Venables with focus, competitiveness, toughness

'I love high school quarterbacks who can do more than just one thing'

Clemson's Jadar Johnson during the first day of spring practice in Clemson.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson's Jadar Johnson during the first day of spring practice in Clemson.

Just a week into this first spring practice at Clemson, Jadar Johnson was forced to the sidelines by a dislocated elbow.

Johnson's reaction, which he posted on Twitter, was telling: 'Gettin' behind on the game I love.'

Attitude is a big part of why Brent Venables was sold on the versatile Johnson as a member of Clemson's class of defensive backs - the Tigers' top priority for the 2013 recruiting cycle.

With Johnson, the Tigers got a bonus, as he graduated from Orangeburg-Wilkinson High in December and enrolled at Clemson for the spring semester. He's expected to be back on the field when spring drills resume next week.

There's plenty of opportunity for Johnson to get early playing time at a safety spot next fall.

"What I like about Jadar is that he's an incredibly bright young guy, ultra-competitive, and was always in some sport, year-round," Venables said during a signing day interview with Clemson's official website.

"Jadar has great size (6-1, 180), great toughness and is just a very, very focused young guy. Sometimes it's good and sometimes it's bad when they don't hardly say anything. But he's just got his nose down and is ready to work and has a fabulous attitude. He's very, very competitive, and is really easy to coach."

After missing most of his sophomore season with an injury, Johnson emerged as one of the state's top prospects as a junior, when he starred both as a defensive back and a wide receiver for Orangeburg-Wilkinson.

As a senior, Johnson got an even larger role, as he added part-time duty at quarterback to his resume.

Venables said he likes recruiting high school quarterbacks who are athletic enough to play other positions.

"Him being their quarterback is, to me, a great compliment to the young man, from a coaching staff standpoint, with them running the system that they have, putting the ball in what they feel is their best football player's hands," Venables said. "It says a lot about their trust in him, both as a leader of their team and his decision-making and play-making ability.

"I love high school quarterbacks who can do more than just one thing."

Jadar Johnson's Signing Day Bio

Enrolled at Clemson in January 2013...rated as the #9 overall player in South Carolina and #80 ATH in the nation by ESPN.com...three-star prospect by Rivals.com...#28 safety and three-star prospect by Scout.com...played in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas...had 50 tackles and four interceptions with 10 pass break ups as a junior...ranked as a PrepStar All-Southeast Region selection...comes to Clemson from same high school that sent all-time great Woody Dantzler to Clemson (1998-01)...coached by Tommy Brown at Orangeburg Wilkinson High School...recruited by Marion Hobby...born June 29, 1995.

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