Austin Johnson is a 6 ft 4 in 314-pound defensive lineman from Galloway, New Jersey. Johnson was a multi-sport athlete at St. Augustine Preparatory High School. He excelled in both basketball and football. His original reason for going to St. Augustine was to work on basketball as he had hopes of playing in college. Fortunately for the Titans, the football coach convinced him to try out for the football team, the rest is history.
Austin Johnson Early Decisions
Johnson had some tough choices to make in his career leading up to the NFL. As stated earlier, Johnson originally attended St. Augustine to refine his basketball game and prepare for college. After the football coach talked him into playing football, he was recruited by Penn State’s defensive line coach, Larry Johnson. Here’s where it gets interesting, Penn State was in the midst of getting unprecedented sanctions thrown down on them. Johnson had to decide if he would stay committed or find a new destination. Ultimately, Johnson remained true to his word and stuck with Penn State regardless of the sanctions.
Johnson redshirted his first year at Penn State. Going into next season, he was a prime candidate to start opposite of current Titans lineman, DaQuan Jones. Johnson did not disappoint, as he was named to the freshman all-conference team by both ESPN and the Big Ten Network.
Other than being an athletic freak at 315 pounds, coaches raved about Johnson’s personality. There weren’t many times where you would find Johnson without a smile on his face. Johnson finished his college career with 154 total tackles, including 24 for a loss and 8.5 sacks in 35 games. He was an integral part of the Penn State defensive line and a big reason for their recent resurgence. Johnson showed the type of man he was when he decided to stay at Penn State and keep his word to the school.
The Tennessee Titans selected Austin Johnson in the second round with the 43rd overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft. Johnson went on to sign a four-year deal with the Titans worth 5.66 million dollars. Johnson had 3.02 million guaranteed and had a signing bonus of 2.31 million. In his rookie year, Johnson was announced as the backup nose tackle. He played in 10 games and recorded 7 total tackles with half a sack.
In 2017, Johnson played in all 16 regular season games, racking up 15 total tackles and a sack with 1 pass defended. In the offseason, the Titans went out and signed Bennie Logan, who will compete with Johnson at nose tackle. Competition is never a bad thing. However, Johnson might have a leg up in the contest. Johnson can play nose tackle and defensive end. Regardless of who wins the time, Johnson will find his way on the field. I expect there to be a lot of rotation between the two, so in the end, there may not even be a clear-cut starter. The Titans are lucky to have both of them to bolster their defensive line. It’s going to be a good year, Titans fans.