It may be a dead period for recruiting, but that hasn’t stopped Syracuse’s momentum. Keirston Johnson, a middle linebacker from Jacksonville, has picked the Orange. Johnson is the second linebacker to commit to Syracuse in the class of 2017, joining Tyrell Richards.
— Corey Bender (@Corey_Bender) July 2, 2016
Johnson picked Syracuse over offers from the likes of Maryland, South Florida, Southern Miss, Florida Atlantic, Memphis, and Marshall, among others. At 6-feet, 215 pounds, he’s rated as a 3-star player by Scout and is likely to be the lone middle linebacker taken in this class (though Richards could certainly wind up being versatile enough to play either inside or outside.
Last season, Johnson had 101 tackles, including 15 tackles-for-loss, with 10 sacks and two forced fumbles. The ILB shows a strong nose for the ball in his film, and explodes through the line to deliver some very, very big hits. He’s got similar size to current Syracuse middle linebackers Zaire Franklin and Troy Henderson at the same stage of their development.
Johnson is the 11th member of the class of 2017, and the third or fourth defensive player, depending on which side of the ball Eric Coley winds up on. The Orange also have defensive end Zach Morton, as well as Richards currently in the fold. Syracuse will try to add a couple more linebackers this cycle, with Nadarius Fagan and Kadeem Trotter currently looking like the top targets at the position.