One of the top players opposing teams key on when playing the Varina Blue Devils is Joseph “Jo-Jo” Johnson. A load at 6-2, 330 pounds, the all-state defensive tackle possesses quick feet and good speed. Though he only totaled three sacks and five tackles-for-loss last season as a junior, Johnson has the ability to rush the passer as well as clog running lanes.
This summer, Johnson is working hard to lower his weight while getting stronger in the weight room. He expects a dominating senior season.
“I plan to be a whole lot better next year,” Johnson said. “I’m going to be physically and mentally ready. I’m losing weight…being overweight is not good for me. I want to get close to 300 pounds before the start of the season. Last year I played at 350 pounds. I’m working with a personal trainer to get in shape, and I just weighed in at 339 pounds. I want to also improve my bench press. I can bench 310 pounds several times. My strongest right now is my squat. I can squat 550 pounds a couple of times. I can also dead-lift 500 pounds twice.”
Johnson plays along the offensive line, which is something he feels helps on defense. He says the ability to shed blockers is also a strength of his game.
“I’d say getting off blocks and fighting blocks is what I do best,” Johnson said. “I also play both ways, which helps because a lot of the time I know what’s going to happen. Especially on defense, where I can usually tell if it’s going to be a run or a pass.”
Though Johnson has only received two official scholarship offers (UVa and Virginia Tech), he is getting serious interest from many other top programs including Michigan, Nebraska, and most of the ACC. Many of these schools would like to see him in camp this summer.
“UVa and Virginia Tech have offered for sure,” Johnson said. “A lot of other schools tell me they want to see me at camp. Nebraska, Michigan, Marshall, NC State, Maryland, Penn State, Clemson, Syracuse, and some others are looking at me. I can’t remember all of them though.”
Johnson does plan on attending summer camps. Maryland, Virginia, and Virginia Tech are at least three destinations, with more schools likely to appear on the schedule. He visited all three schools this year.
“I’m going to do a lot of one day camps,” Johnson said. “I’m definitely going to UVa, Virginia Tech, and probably Maryland. I’ve already visited UVa for a basketball game...
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