Jamier Johnson, CB
The two Texas defensive backs that entered the portal on Nov. 29 were a little bit more surprising than the edge players that announced their transfer intentions.
Sophomore cornerback Jamier Johnson was often the third player in the rotation at the position behind senior D’Shawn Jamison and redshirt sophomore Ryan Watts coming out of fall camp. Early in the season, it looked as if Johnson was really starting to find his stride and become a significant part of the secondary week in and week out.
Yet, after a decent start to the season for Johnson through three games in non-conference play, things started to go south a bit. Big 12 play was not kind to Johnson at the outset. In the four games that Johnson got live-game reps in Big 12 play this season, he allowed five completions on seven attempts, good for more than 100 yards and two touchdowns.
And during that time, Johnson didn’t have any interceptions or pass breakups. The two incompletions among the targets that went his way in pass coverage in Big 12 play were both uncatchable balls.
Johnson was having issues adjusting to the field corner position against some of the better receivers in the Big 12 this season. He was often targeted when playing softer man coverage off the line of scrimmage, resulting in all but one of the catches he allowed being first downs.
After Week 5, Johnson saw a significant decrease in his reps. Pete Kwiatkowski and Terry Joseph started to give more reps at corner to true freshmen Terrance Brooks and Austin Jordan. As a result, Johnson didn’t spend much time on the two-deep in the second half of the season.
However, I do still believe Johnson could have a bright future. The Pasadena John Muir product and southern California native is a former blue-chip recruit who is very athletic and plays the football well, especially on contested balls. He just wasn’t the right scheme fit with PK’s defense.
Shane Black of Hook’em Headlines did a good piece talking about how Johnson is the most significant portal loss for the Longhorns so far in the 2023 class. Black makes the case that losing Johnson will hurt Texas’ cornerback depth, especially when you compound the departure of Jamison heading into the offseason.
And he certainly has a valid point given that Texas will be relying on some younger corners next season to play alongside Watts at field corner.