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2018 WR Kevin Johnson Jr. (son of the Orange great) commits to the Orange

Since Dino Babers has taken over the Syracuse offense, there has been plenty of ‘best Orange receiver of all-time’ talk to go around. It’d be hard to have that conversation without at least mentioning Kevin Johnson of the late ’90s, and earlier this week SU got a commitment from his son, also named Kevin.

Kevin Johnson was Donovan McNabb’s favorite target at Syracuse. By the time his four years in the Carrier Dome were done, Johnson had solidified his spot in the top 10 on SU’s career receiving touchdowns list. He also still sits in the top 10 in single-season receptions, yards and touchdowns for his outstanding 1998 senior year. That makes big shoes for Kevin Jr. — who is only rated at two stars by 247Sports.com — to fill.

Kevin Jr. first met Syracuse coaches at a 2016 camp in New Jersey. He plays in Florida at the football powerhouse IMG Academy, but was far from the highest-ranked prospect to come out of the school in this cycle. He didn’t even crack the top 2000 in the 2018 class, and is ranked below 25 of his teammates at IMG. Still, Johnson received offers from Colorado and Florida before committing to the Orange, a team he has had his eyes on for a while.

He didn’t play hard to get, that’s for sure.

Johnson might not be the highest rated recruit or wide receiver in Cuse’s 2018 class (he’s the lowest, if SU doesn’t get another commit or the rankings don’t change), but Orange fans know better than to count him out. Amba Etta-Tawo was only a three-star recruit with no signs of his breakout potential at Maryland, and Erv Phillips only had three stars to his name as well. Of course, the name Johnson brings with him will bring extra eyes and expectations even with the low rating.

At 5-11, Johnson isn’t a go-up-and-get-it receiver. His signature attribute is that same speed (a 4.54 40-time, per his Hudl page) which helped his father tally five return touchdowns at Syracuse. If you take a look at his Hudl tape, just about every deep catch is the same story. Either by way of a hard cut or a straight sprint downfield, he blows by would-be defenders. You can take a look for yourself here. The kid is fast, and Dino likes fast.

Johnson Jr. joins the already signed Edward Hendrix, Taj Harris, Anthony Queely and Cooper Lutz as the wide receivers in Cuse’s 2018 class. That’s already plenty of pass catchers for one cycle, but you can never doubt Dino Babers’ desire for more speed.  It’s anyone’s guess how many the Orange will have come February.

Posted: Nathan Dickinson

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