2023 DB Braylon Johnson talks Hokies and Highland Springs
The Hokies became the first team to offer 2023 Virginia DB Braylon Johnson, the son of former Virginia Tech legend Loren Johnson, on Tuesday.
Braylon plays under his father, Loren Johnson, who now serves as the Head Coach of the Highland Springs High School Football Program. Being the son of the head coach and a former Hokie Legend has been a point of motivation for the Highland Springs DB. A quick comment on that pressure with, “I really embrace it. A lot of people think less of me and what I do because I have had some opportunities growing up that many don’t. It doesn’t bother me, just gives me motivation to do even better”.
The current sophomore stands at 6’1 and weighs in around 160 pounds, which he uses to play a versatile role on the defense. He plays both as a great zone coverage DB and a dangerous man coverage DB on the field. His hard work at the defensive back spot has not gone unnoticed with Braylon pulling in multiple offers seeming to come one after the other after the initial get from the Hokies.
Other notable offers for Braylon Johnson being Virginia, Penn State, and Oklahoma among others.
Braylon commented on his relationship with Virginia Tech Defensive Coordinator Justin Hamilton saying, “He was a family friend growing up, so I am pretty comfortable around him”. Surprisingly, it was actually Virginia Tech Cornerback Coach Ryan Smith who extended the offer to Braylon on Tuesday afternoon.
“I have just recently started talking to Coach Smitty, but he’s a really great coach and I know we will talk more.”
Braylon implied that he was expecting Virginia Tech to be his first offer with his father being a former player. That didn’t suppress any excitement from Braylon however, as he was thrilled to receive his very first offer from the Hokies. As the offers started to roll-in he became more accustomed to what was happening and realized it was a product of his work.
“It wasn’t that I got less excited the more offers I got, because then I would sound cocky or arrogant. It was more like I realized that this would come with the hard work that I put into my game.”
Another topic spoken on with Braylon was the continuous Virginia to Virginia Tech Movement (#VA2VT). Braylon showed to be well-versed in the movement for the Hokies, as well as its mistakes.
“Hamilton and Smitty had spoken to me about the importance of bringing Virginia players to Virginia Tech. During the Michael Vick Years (98’-00’), Virginia Tech was winning with Virginia players. They really made it clear to me that when Virginia players come to Virginia Tech that they start winning a lot more.”
After that comment Braylon went into detail on how he felt that the Hokies have lacked the past couple of years in the face of in-state recruiting. The main point for him being the Richmond area being a sore spot for Virginia Tech Recruiting. However, Braylon feels that the Virginia Tech Football Staff is pushing hard to correct their past mistakes and he shared that others around him feel similarly. Feeling optimistic about this turn around, he feels that the Hokies will figure out how to fix their wrongs in the state or at the very least are moving in the right direction.
Braylon is currently working to improve his foot speed and explosiveness as parts of his game. Both of those skills being some of the most important aspects of the game to his favorite players growing up playing the game: Charles Woodson and Jalen Ramsey. Using this mentality of “Day-by-Day” is not only something Braylon uses to better himself, but also one he says the Highland Springs Football team uses going into each season.
“Of course, not winning states last year was not what we wanted. It really felt like we weren’t fully one as a team, unlike most seasons. However, I think we have grown back to that “one team” mindset for this upcoming season and we will just go out there to win and keep wining every game. To win the state championship again is the goal.”
The optimism in this relatively young athlete towards his work ethic and team is a highlight in itself that isn’t shown on the film. Braylon Johnson will be a name that you will hear a lot of coming up in the 2023 Recruiting Cycle. And being a legacy of a Hokie Legend, the fans must assume that the coaching staff will make a huge push for him throughout his recruitment.