To answer your first question… No, 2015 signee Nick Johns is not related to current UVa quarterback Matt Johns.
That being said, the Wahoos are very excited about the latest Johns to join the Virginia football program.
Nick Johns committed to the Orange and Blue early in the process, and fended off suitors all the way until Signing Day.
The 6-4, 220 pound signal-caller has been a productive leader under center ever since taking the reigns at Gonzaga College High School. In 2013, Johns passed for 936 yards and five scores, despite playing in only six games. After missing the second half of his junior season, Johns returned to the field with a vengeance the following fall. As a senior, Johns threw for nearly 1,300 yards, while completing 66 percent of his passes. In 2014, Johns tossed 12 touchdown passes, while leading Gonzaga to a Washington D.C. City Championship.
Offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild needed to see Johns in person just one time before extending an offer to the D.C. native. The stocky quarterback put on a show at UVa's seven-on-seven camp in the summer of 2013, and committed to Virginia the following May. Had he been healthy for a full junior season, Johns would have had plenty of suitors, but still managed to pick up early offers from Maryland and NC State, in addition to the Wahoos.
Let's take a closer look at one of the centerpieces of the class of 2015.
Name: Nick Johns
High School: Gonzaga College High School (Washington D.C.)
Ranking: Rivals/247/ESPN 3-star
Recognition: 2015 City Champion, Represented the United States in the 2015 International Bowl.
Johns is the prototypical pocket passer, possessing both a strong arm and a quick release. The Washington D.C. native displays tremendous patience in the pocket, and can get the ball to his receivers downfield. Johns is the type of quarterback who makes his wide receivers better. In 2014, Johns threw for nearly 1,300 yards, despite missing two of the team's top targets for the bulk of the season.
Johns excels in selling a pump-fake, and has a strong enough arm to find a streaking wideout.
While Johns is primary a pocket-passer, the 6-4 signal-caller has the ability to make plays with his feet. At the .26- second mark in the film above, Johns runs the read-option to perfection, and alludes defenders on the edge. As a senior, Johns rushed for 223 yards and five touchdowns off of 45 carries. Nobody is ever going to confuse Johns with a mobile quarterback, but the first-year QB has the necessary speed and instincts to escape pressure when needed.
For one scary week back in the spring, it looked as though Johns would be one of just two scholarship quarterbacks on Virginia's roster. With Corwin Cutler deciding not to transfer and the late-addition of Connor Brewer, the Hoos will have a solid three-QB depth chart in 2015.
The new additions under center will allow Johns to redshirt this fall. The depth at the quarterback position will allow Johns to be able to learn the offense for at least two years, before competing for the starting job as a redshirt sophomore.
Needless to say, the quarterback management in the Virginia football program has been less than stellar for the better part of a decade. Fortunately, the staff should be able to take their time with Johns, allowing him to get stronger and wiser before becoming the centerpiece of the offense.