Defensive Back, Class of 2023
Highland Springs, Highland Springs, VA
It didn’t matter who his dad was or that he himself was a coveted recruit. Whenever Highland Springs (Va.) three-star defensive back Braylon Johnson visited Virginia Tech over the past few months, the football staff told him he didn’t need to wear a nametag. That stuck with him.
“One time, for the spring game, I was walking around after the spring game, I was just walking, chilling,” Johnson said. “I’d been to campus so many times, I didn’t need any assistance. Everybody was asking about me, and I felt like they just cared about me outside of football.”
On July 1, Johnson announced his commitment to the Hokies over South Carolina. The decision to choose Virginia Tech was made last month, when he and his teammates were in Blacksburg for a seven-on-seven tournament. It also came with help from his father, former Hokie defensive back Loren Johnson, though Braylon has long let it be known this was his decision.
“It was just a simple conversation with my dad,” Braylon said. “I was like, ‘If I don’t go here, I’ll regret it.’ He understands because he grew up in Blacksburg and played there. I just felt like I’ve been going there my whole life.”
Braylon, Rivals.com’s No. 12 player in Virginia for 2023, has long been linked to Virginia Tech because of his father. Though he’s a legacy, he said he’s determined to write his own story.
“It means a lot to everybody else,” Braylon said. “It means a lot to me, but at the same time, I want to be way better than he was. He set the standard, now I’m going to go get it. Everybody talks about, my pops played here, and I don’t know, now that I’m going, I want to be better, have better accolades. It is a legacy thing, but I want to do even better, and that’s my goal.”
The Hokies weren’t in the picture, however, until Brent Pry arrived as coach late last year. Since then, Braylon said the coaching staff has continually reached out and their relationship has steadily grown.
“Coach Pry, Coach (Chris) Marve and the staff, I know they’ll be there for a long time,” Braylon said. “And I know they’re going to have success early. I think I can grow up a man even more than football. Me and whoever else comes, we’ll definitely be set up for a life. We’re the type of guys that fit his scheme, the personality he wants. And I just feel like I’m respected at Tech. Not that I couldn’t go anywhere else and earn respect, but I didn’t have to wear a name tag. People knew my face, respected my face.”
Specifically, Braylon said it was assistant coaches...
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