2020 WR Jordan Johnson Is The Ultimate Competitor

February 28, 2019

2020 DeSmet (Mo.) receiver Jordan Johnson‍ is one of the most coveted prospects in the entire country. Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon, Penn State, Purdue, Texas A&M and Wisconsin are just a few of the programs recruiting the four-star prospect, but what makes him unique? 

“He’s an ultimate competitor,” DeSmet head coach Robert Steeples told Irish Sports Daily. “He competes on the field during games and also during practice. He wants to get better and enjoys a good matchup. He does play with an edge to him. We always encourage our guys to have fun with it, so playing with an edge seems to keep it fun for him, but we also remind him to be a mature competitor. That means he represents himself and our football program during the competition.” 

Johnson definitely has a fire to his game and it’s something Steeples loves, but also knows it can carry him far and he would know. Steeples played cornerback for Missouri before transferring to Memphis and then spent time in the NFL with Minnesota, Kansas City and the Dallas Cowboys. 

“There people who enjoy the game and people who don’t,” explained Steeples. “I tell guys if they like shooting three-pointers, play basketball. If they like hitting home runs, play baseball. If you like being physical and competing, play football.

“Jordan enjoys the lights and the big moments. He welcomes competition on his level, but he also doesn’t play down to people who aren’t.

Where does Johnson’s passion come from? It’s a simple answer. 

“The passion comes from enjoying the game and the limelight,” said Steeples. “His mother is a sweetheart, but she has a little fire to her as well, so he might get some of that from his mom. She’s a momma bear and done a hell of a job raising him.”

Away from the field, the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder is just a regular teenager. While he might be shy in some settings, Johnson just wants to have fun with friends and enjoy high school. 

“He’s a social guy around those who he’s comfortable with,” Steeples said. “In some settings, he might be a little quieter, but around us, the team and his classmates, he’s a talkative kid and likes to laugh. Physically, he may look like a grown man, but he’s still a big kid. 

“He enjoys a good time.” 

It’s not a secret Notre Dame is pushing hard for Johnson and they’ve been rewarded with two visits. If Notre Dame is the choice in the end, Steeples believes DeSmet will have Johnson prepared for life in South Bend.  

“DeSmet is a high academic institution and one of the top academic and athletic programs in Missouri,” Steeples explained. “I went there myself and college was a breeze compared to DeSmet. 

“DeSmet does a really good job of putting our kids in a leadership situation but also helps develop the study skills needed for college. The workload won’t be foreign to him because he knew what he was getting himself into when he came to DeSmet. Schools like Notre Dame, the high academic universities, have the resources to accommodate many those kids who end up getting accepted as a student-athlete.

“It’s up to Jordan to decide what environment is best for him. He has to understand wherever he goes, he’ll have to put in a lot of work.” 

When the time comes for a commitment, a lucky program will be getting one of the best receivers in the country, but also one of the most complete receivers in the 2020 class. 

“He’s easily one of the best receivers in the country and probably top three in my opinion,” stated Steeples. “It really depends on what you’re looking for. Do you want a 6-foot-6 player with ability or do you want Jordan, who you can put anywhere on the field? He can play slot, outside and he can run block. He can run deep and intermediate routes, but also take a screen to the house. 

“He’s probably one of the most physically gifted kids in the country. What helps set him apart is with the gift, he has a work ethic. He works his ass off at that position. We’ve had really good players come through DeSmet like Munir Prince and was a Gatorade Player of the Year. Durron Neal was an All-American receiver. 

“Jordan has a chance to be one of the better players to leave DeSmet if not the best if he handles everything the right way.” 

However, Johnson is far from a finished produced. 

“He has to improve on everything,” Steeples said. “The things he does well, he has to do them better. He’s competitive at the point of attack, he’s fast, but he has to do it better and more consistently.” 

Steeples has also been preparing Johnson for life beyond technique and athletic ability. 

“The biggest thing that separate players that I’ve seen making the jump to college and then to the NFL is becoming a true professional across the board,” explained Steeples. “The things he does on the field, he has to continue to get better at and he knows that. As far as becoming a leader and how you conduct yourself on and off the field – those are areas where you need to see improvement across the board. 

“Those are the guys who stay buried in the playbook and know how to conduct themselves in social situations to become leaders to their teammates. He’s done a hell of a job being a good leader for this team, but that’s where I really challenge him. The work ethic and consistency must be seen in every facet at football practice, in competition, in the classroom, in the hallways and his social life on the weekends.”

It’s up to Johnson on how great he wants to be and Steeples has prepared him to do just that. 

“He’s accepted that challenge,” said Steeples. “That’s where I challenge all our players. You can practice for two or three hours, but there are still 22 hours to develop character and mental toughness to separate yourself and I expect him to do it.” 

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