Jaleel Johnson is heading to the Twin Cities.
Johnson came to Iowa City as a 6’3”, 290 pounds recruit in the summer of 2012 and transformed himself over the course of his 5-year career to become a stalwart along Iowa’s defensive line. When Carl Davis departed, Johnson stepped right into the role Davis created as Iowa’s block-eating big man.
As a defensive tackle, he notched only 3.7 tackles per game in 2015 and 2016. His role in Iowa’s defense made life easier for their linebackers. Keeping guards and centers in check allowed Josey Jewell to notch over 120 tackles each of the last two years. Rob Donaldson’s video from earlier this offseason provides an in-depth analysis of Johnson’s impact.
This is not to say the big man didn’t have a knack for finding the ball. Johnson notched a team-leading 7.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss in 2016 on his way to all-Big Ten honors. He rose to the occasion under the lights against Michigan with 9 total tackles, including a sack and a safety which gave Iowa the spark they desperately needed. Iowa does not win Harbaugh’s return to Kinnick without his play.
Here he is, wreckin’ Clones:
Though his combine results were not ideal, his senior tape carried a lot of weight. His versatility will allow him to play multiple positions along the defensive line, depending on how Mike Zimmer decides to use him. Mike Daniels and Jonathan Babineaux offer templates for a fruitful career in the National Football League for Johnson.
Minnesota has a pretty good track record with Hawkeyes. Christian Ballard was on track to be decent until he decided to retire. And then there’s this guy called Chad Greenway who had a pretty good run with the Vikings.
We thank Jaleel again for the memories he provided in black and gold and wish him the best as he heads to the Twin Cities.