DEFENSIVE TACKLE JALEEL JOHNSON
Arrival: The 6-4, 315-pounder had a lot of offers (12), including a few from Iowa’s direct competition (Michigan, Wisconsin and Michigan State). That’s a good start. When he visited Iowa on his recruiting trip, Johnson weighed in at 320 pounds. On paper, in June and still at Montini High School in Lombard, Ill., Johnson looks as though he could be a helper on a defensive line that is in “all hands on deck” mode.
There are caveats. He will only be a true freshman. Also, he won’t be 18 until July 12. The maturity factor will clinch whether Johnson sees time on the line of scrimmage or not this season. He’ll be an 18-year-old with raw skills throwing punches with O-linemen up to 23-years-old and who’ve had up to five years of time in a college weight room and with their college position coaches.
2012 Takeoff: For a measure of Iowa’s need for Johnson, let’s take a look at the possibilities for No. 3 DT. You’ll probably read that a lot during this exercise, the “No. 3.” We all know the depth chart is an “unofficial record of what supposed to happen.” The depth chart melts away quickly when one of the two tackles, guards or ends is injured. The first player in isn’t always the guy listed behind the starter. It’s often the next-best. We give you running back Jason White in 2011 and his quixotic run as Iowa’s No. 2 (he coined the phrase “unofficial record of what’s supposed to happen).
Looks as though the ends will be Dominic Alvis and Joe Gaglione, so Steve Bigach probably is a tackle along with Darian Cooper. That makes Louis Trinca-Pasat and Carl Davis as the top candidates on campus for No. 3.
They’ll start ahead of Johnson, but the dunk is hardly slammed. Trinca-Pasat showed great strides in spring and seems to have a footing, but his resume is short. Cooper ended spring on the sidelines rehabbing a knee injury and also has a thin resume. Redshirt freshman Dean Tsopanides also is a possibility. He slid into No. 2 DT this spring, but was listed at just 240. He’s still building the body.
If Johnson comes in and his body and mind are right, the opportunity is there.