While sweating out of every orifice of my body at Nissan Stadium, there wasn’t a player on defense who stood out to me more than Anthony Johnson. And if you know me, you know that I’ve been the biggest advocate for the second year corner all summer long.
Though it came mostly in garbage time last season, when Johnson was on the field for the struggling Cardinals defense he showed big-time potential as a lockdown corner.
Standing at 6’1, Johnson had great size and looked to be able to use it to his advantage when going one-on-one with receivers. He had nice speed, showed solid tackling in the open field, as well as the ability to play the ball – all of which led me to believe he’d be the number one corner this season.
While the latter has yet to happen, the former is what we saw from Johnson on Saturday against Western Kentucky going head-to-head with Quin Jernighan, one of the Tops’ most dangerous weapons.
Head coach Tyson Helton clearly felt that the offense had an advantage at the receiver spot over Johnson, targeting receivers he covered an incredible 11 times (most in the ACC).
Though he gave up a couple of receptions, Johnson was great with making plays on the ball finishing with two pass deflections, as well as making sure that any receiver who caught a pass in front of him wasn’t getting behind him. In total, he did give up eight total receptions, but none of them broke for big plays.
The sophomore finished Saturday’s win with seven total tackles, including five all by himself. He also came up with a huge forced fumble, which he recovered himself, after stripping WKU’s Lucky Jackson on a drive that looked to be heading towards points in the second half.
Fellow sophomore Chandler Jones has been one of the most improved players across the entire Louisville roster this season, and with Johnson emerging against Western Kentucky, Bryan Brown may finally have found his one, two punch on the outside at corner moving forward.