Versatile Johnson hopes to add depth to UF's line
Published: Saturday, August 16, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 15, 2014 at 9:34 p.m.
After a rash of injuries on the offensive line last season, Florida is searching for more quality depth in 2014.
One offensive lineman who is opening eyes this camp is redshirt freshman Roderick Johnson, who figures to play a utility role for the Gators this season.
The 6-foot-5, 308-pound Johnson is versatile enough to play tackle and guard. Last week, Florida coach Will Muschamp tabbed Johnson as UF's third tackle, behind starters D.J. Humphries and Chaz Green.
“I like the way my role is set up right now,” Johnson said.
But with it comes responsibility. An Under Armour All-American out of Delray Beach, Johnson redshirted last season and sat out the majority of spring drills with a concussion.
“It was frustrating not being able to practice with my O-linemen,” Johnson said. “I pretty much had to take it day-by-day, just get ready for summertime, come back hungrier.”
That hunger has shown on the practice field, where Johnson has held his own blocking Florida pass rushers like Dante Fowler Jr. and Bryan Cox Jr. As a result, Johnson has made an impression on coaches and teammates this month.
“I'm seeing a young guy that's pretty hungry,” Humphries said. “He wants to learn, he wants to figure out how to do it the right way. He's not out there just playing ball. He wants to do it the right way and he wants to try to be the best.”
Johnson said Green also has taken him under his wing.
“Chaz is like my older brother,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he welcomes the expectations that come with being on the offensive line rotation at Florida.
“There's pressure on me, but at the same time I feel like I do need pressure on me at the moment, so I know how to adjust to everything,” Johnson said.