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Virginia football lands commitment from Louisiana defensive back Donovan Johnson

Johnson joins Bud Clark among Pelican State DBs in UVA’s 2020 class

Belk Bowl - South Carolina v Virginia Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

June has traditionally been a busy month for commitments under Virginia Cavaliers head coach Bronco Mendenhall. And with the official start of summer just around the corner, UVA’s football recruiting is heating up.

Two weeks after wide receiver Lavel Davis kicked off the month, Louisiana safety Donovan Johnson announced his commitment to the Hoos over the weekend.

Johnson plays for Helen Cox in Harvey, Louisiana, just outside New Orleans. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound safety holds almost 30 offers, including Georgia Tech, Miami, Arkansas, Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, and Texas Tech.

In the 247 Sports Composite, Johnson is rated 87.39, which places him in the top 30 overall recruits in the state of Louisiana. Rivals also pegs him as a high three-star, with a 5.7 rating; Johnson is in their top 20 for Louisiana.

It’s a Mendenhall defensive back so you already knew he was going to have a large frame and show good range. Johnson looks comfortable both shutting off the top of coverage as a roaming free safety and locking onto a receiver; I would say he shows more ability in zone, though. He’s instinctual to the ball and plays it well on arrival. Where Johnson shines most, though, is as a run stopper—fighting off blocks, taking good angles, and leaving no doubt upon making contact. This is the kind of versatile defender that fits well in either of the two safety spots.

Johnson’s commitment adds to Virginia’s run of success in Louisiana. From the 2019 commits, Mike Hollins looks primed to make an early splash in a crowded stable of running backs, and Dontayvion Wicks was one of the late steals of the entire cycle. Now 2020 has Bud Clark and Donovan Johnson in the defensive backfield, and 247’s Jamie Oakes has put in a Crystal Ball for three-star defensive back Caleb Anderson to join the Hoos from Jackson, Louisiana as well. (Anderson and Johnson were both in Charlottesville for official visits this past week.)

Four-star safety Eric Reed visits UVA later this week; the Shreveport product would be the biggest coup yet for Virginia to pull from down on the bayou.