Defensive tackles coach, Jackie Shipp and the Sooners did not sign a defensive tackle in the 2012 recruiting class. When you combine that reality with the fact that Oklahoma will lose three at the position after this season due to graduation - and it's clear the position is definitely a key focus in the class of 2013.
A key target the Sooners have zoned in on is Toby Johnson out of Hutchinson (Kan.) Hutchinson C.C. The 6-foot-4 and 290-pound defensive tackle picked up an offer from the Sooners back in April to add to his list of over 20-offers that also includes Georgia, Mississippi, Nebraska, Tennessee, and USC.
Johnson has really taken a liking to Shipp so far particularly to Shipp's much discussed success over his career putting defensive tackles in the NFL it's not hard to see why the junior college prospect has serious interest in the Crimson and Cream.
"They win," Johnson began. "They've had a lot of good defensive tackles come out of there the last couple of years and basically because me and coach Shipp got that relationship."
Johnson told SoonerScoop.com recently that he plans to be in Norman next month and has his mind set on seeing if the fan base feels like family.
"Like the fan base," he began. "Does it feel like family? Get a chance to get to know the coaches and get to know the players."
Last season Johnson finished the year with 53-tackles, 11.5-tackles for loss, two-sacks, 11-quaterback hurries and five-forced fumbles. Some programs see Johnson at the one technique, five-technique or even at end while the Sooners see him at the three-technique.
Johnson has been on a few visits so far with most of them being to SEC schools like Tennessee, Arkansas and Texas A&M as well as Arkansas State. The big defensive lineman also has plans to visit Nebraska on June 16.
It's no shock Johnson has already checked out a few SEC programs considering he is originally from the area in Atlanta, Ga. the hometown of the conference many feel Johnson will be playing in next year.
However, Johnson says he is honestly looking for the best fit for him no matter where that may be.
"My family is back in Mississippi but me, my uncle, his wife and their kids are the only people that stay in Georgia, so there really isn't any pressure to go back to Georgia. It would be good but then again if it isn't the right place for me, I only got two years left so the best thing for me to do is go somewhere that benefits me," he explained.
When making his decision, Johnson will be looking to play for a program that is established that will be successful while he is apart of the team.
"A program that is established that I know is going to be good the next couple of years," he stated. "A program that I know my coach is still going to be there by the time I get there and just a good relationship with my coaches and my position coach."
Over the next couple of months Johnson says he is looking to narrow down his choices of programs that he is consider and plans to make his decision shortly after the upcoming season gets going.
"I'll probably wait a couple of games into the season because like I said I want to see a couple of teams play and see how I fit into their scheme and stuff," Johnson said.
Currently, Johnson says he does not have any teams standing above the rest but the Sooners are a team that he says are high up on his list of schools he is considering.
"They stand right up by the top. I don't have any outstanding leaders or anything but they stand right up there with everybody else," he replied.
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