Boom! UCF lands WR transfer Jordan Johnson, former five-star recruit
Gus Malzahn just landed the highest-rated recruit in UCF history.
Jordan Johnson, a five-star prospect and the No. 5 nationally ranked wide receiver in the 2020 recruiting class, announced his transfer commitment to the Knights on Tuesday. The St. Louis native spent his freshman season at Notre Dame, playing in two games but not recording any statistics.
Johnson had offers from virtually everyone coming out of De Smet Jesuit High School near St. Louis, catching 29 passes for 587 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior. He committed to Notre Dame in April 2019 while strongly considering Auburn, Texas, Ohio State and Missouri.
At that time, Johnson told Rivals he sees himself in the mold of Stefon Diggs, wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills.
"I can see myself doing a lot of things that Stefon Diggs does," Johnson said. "I try to run my routes and do some of the things he does. He's explosive. He attacks the ball. I feel like he's the person I would be like."
Bryan Driskell, football analyst for Rivals Notre Dame affiliate Blue & Gold Illustrated, had this to say prior to his senior season:
"His athletic traits are all top notch. Johnson shows a strong burst off the line, and when his technique is right he can explode off the line and quickly get on corners. His second gear is really outstanding, and those two traits make him a dangerous vertical player.
"Johnson has impressive foot quickness and agility, which combines nicely with his balance and body control to give him a borderline elite athletic grade. He flashes top-level suddenness, which plays into his upside grade, but that will be discussed more in the route running portion of this breakdown."
"Johnson has the trifecta of talent needed for an impact wide receiver. He has good size, he's a top-notch athlete and his pass catching skills are impressive. Johnson has literally strong hands, which allows him to make some really difficult catches, especially down the field. Johnson attacks the football well once he gets out of routes and he extends his hands well to the football. The only time I've seen Johnson body catch is when it is appropriate to do so."
Johnson enrolled at Notre Dame during the COVID-19 impacted summer of 2020 and found a challenging adjustment to college life and academics, which led to a slower than anticipated transition to the field.
"What I'm most impressed with Jordan is what he's doing in the classroom right now," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said April 3, following an early spring practice. "He's really turned the corner there. And you can start to see that confidence showing itself on the football field too."
Johnson though decided it was best to forge a fresh start and entered the NCAA Transfer Portal May 3. He was just as highly recruited as a transfer, though this time narrowed his list to UCF, Florida, Missouri and Texas A&M. Sources indicated his two finalists were UCF and UF, ultimately choosing to play for the Knights.
At UCF, Johnson will join a wide receiver corps that was headlined in spring by Jaylon Robinson, Ryan O'Keefe and Brandon Johnson. Three of the Knights' top wide receivers just graduated between Marlon Williams, Jacob Harris and Tre Nixon. Harris and Nixon were drafted by NFL teams, while Williams signed as a free agent.
Johnson is slated to be the eighth transfer on next season's roster, joining wide receiver Brandon Johnson (Tennessee, already enrolled), running back Mark-Antony Richards (Auburn), running back Isaiah Bowser (Northwestern), wide receiver Nate Craig-Myers (Colorado State), defensive end Big Kat Bryant (Auburn), defensive tackle Ricky Barber Jr. (Western Kentucky) and defensive end/linebacker Hirkley Latu (BYU).