Austin Johnson Declares For 2016 NFL Draft
After three seasons playing alongside Anthony Zettel on Penn State’s vaunted defensive line, defensive tackle Austin Johnson announced that he’ll be foregoing his final season of eligibility and will enter the 2016 NFL Draft.
The New Jersey native committed to Penn State in 2012 as a three-star recruit after receiving a total of two scholarship offers. He made his presence felt as a reserve appearing in 10 games in 2013 after redshirting his first season, and became a full-time starter alongside fellow tackle Anthony Zettel in 2014, forming one of the most dynamic defensive tackle tandems in recent memory.
Johnson, primarily a run-stuffing defender, flourished under defensive line coach Sean Spencer as a starter. Benefiting from the presence of Zettel and First Team All-American Carl Nassib, he recorded 70 total tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, five and a half sacks, two pass deflections, and one of the most memorable fumble recoveries in recent memory during his redshirt junior campaign.
He joins Zettel and Nassib in the Draft, and figures to hear his name called sooner rather than later.
According to CBSSports, Johnson is the No. 6 defensive tackle available in the draft behind stars like Robert Nkemdiche of Ole Miss and Adolpus Washington of Ohio State. CBSSports predicts that he’ll be drafted in round two, but some mock drafts have Johnson going in the backend of the first round.
He’s a dynamic athlete possessing otherworldly strength, and fits as both a three-technique tackle in a 4-3 system and a head-up noseguard in a 3-4 system. He leaves a gaping hole in Penn State’s interior line, and his run-stuffing prowess will be dearly missed.
Thanks for your contributions to the program, Austin, and best of luck in your future endeavors.