Texas A&M Defensive back Antonio Johnson is on quite the offseason crusade, previously receiving preseason award nominations for the Bronko Nagurski and Jim Thorpe awards. On Monday, he was honorably selected to the Bednarik Award Watchlist, which is given to the most outstanding defensive player during the college football season.
Aggie fans, Texas A&M media, and NFL scouts all cohesively recognize just how talented, athletic, and instinctively gifted Johnson is on the gridiron, yet some are still in the process of getting to know the junior defensive back, and just what he's bringing back to the A&M defense that's in need of a generational playmaker in order to succeed within the always grueling SEC schedule.
As a member of the talented 2020 recruiting class for the Aggies, while being ranked as the 4th safety prospect in the country, Johnson began to show his true potential starting at the nickel corner role during the 2021 season in Mike Elko's defense (now the head coach for Duke). Johnson tallied 79 tackles, 5 pass breakups, and 8.5 tackles for loss on the year, and is coming back as a proven starter in his second straight season, with many predicting that he will shift into the safety position in order to take full advantage of his defensive versatility.
Game-by-game predictions for Texas A&M's 2022 schedule via ESPN's FPI
Story originally appeared on Aggies Wire