A.J. Johnson is a middle linebacker for the University of Tennessee Volunteers of the Southeastern Conference. He led the Volunteers in tackles in 2012 and 2013 and was selected by Phil Steele as a 2014 preseason first-team All-American.
Johnson attended Gainesville High School in Georgia. He was a four-star recruit according to Rivals, Scout, and ESPN.com. John was named the Georgia Class AAA Defensive Player of the Year and was first-team All-State three straight seasons. An Under Armour All-American, Johnson tallied 173 tackles in his senior season and 29 tackles for loss. Gainesville won three straight region titles with Johnson and went all the way to the state championship game his junior year.
Johnson played in 12 games and started 10 as a true freshman at Tennessee in 2011. He tallied 80 tackles, the most by any freshman in the SEC and second among all players on the Volunteers. Johnson was a consensus Freshman All-American selection. In 2012 Johnson started in all 12 games at middle linebacker. He tallied the fourth most tackles in the nation and the most in the SEC with 138. Johnson led the Volunteers with 8.5 tackles for loss. He also was the team’s “Wildcat” QB, rushing for six touchdowns on the season.
After his breakout sophomore season, Johnson was on all the award watch lists entering his 2013 campaign. He responded by starting all 12 games and leading the Volunteers with 106 tackles. The Associated Press, SEC Coaches, the Sporting News and Athlon Sports all named Johnson a first-team All-SEC selection after the season.
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