ST. LOUIS – At 6-foot-6 and 320 pounds, 16-year-old Roderick Johnson (Florissant, Mo./Hazelwood Central) is a specimen. The offensive tackle was easily spotted upon arrival at the Missouri Black & Gold Camp at De Smet Jesuit on Sunday.
His size alone makes him an easy target, but it’s Johnson’s familiarity with the Missouri coaching staff that made him stand out among the 500 athletes in attendance Sunday. Johnson has made multiple trips to Missouri and has built a good relationship with the staff.
“When I first got [to camp], the coaches were telling me they were expecting me,” Johnson said. “Coach [Cornell] Ford and Coach [Josh] Henson were calling it ‘Roderick Day.’
“It’s good to know they’re fans, but I don’t want to get too cocky with it. I just want to continue working on getting better and continue with my football career and academics.”
When Johnson stepped on the field, he showed why he’s receiving looks from some of the nation’s elite programs. Johnson said he’s been offered by Missouri, Iowa and Michigan State, and he has interest from Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska and Indiana.
Johnson participated in all drills and showed his skill set during positional workouts. He brings a healthy balance of raw power and a desire to be the best lineman possible. Johnson squats 570 pounds and showed on Sunday that he has improved agility and flexibility.
Johnson, who will enter the 2012 season as a two-year starter for Hazelwood Central, said the camp helped him work more on his run blocking and pass blocking.
“I thought it was pretty good. I bettered my technique overall,” Johnson said of the camp. “It really helped me be a better football player. That’s what I wanted.”
Johnson said he doesn’t have a list of favorites but is looking forward to taking unofficial visits over the summer.