The Texas A&M football team has one of the most talented rosters in the entirety of college football. With a handful of former five-stars like DeMarvin Leal, Kenyon Green, and Jaylon Jones, there are few teams in the game who can match Jimbo Fisher’s talent.
That said, it’s not always the highest-rated players who are doing the heavy lifting for a team.
While all three of the aforementioned players are thriving with the Aggies this year, there is one defensive player who has gone under the radar. This is a player who has had arguably the biggest impact of any player on the field and isn’t receiving as much recognition as he deserves.
Texas A&M football’s Antonio Johnson leads the team in tackles and has been all over the field
Before the 2021 season began, who would you have pegged as the Aggies’ top player? The three players listed above in Leal, Green, and Jones would have likely been popular candidates and the argument could be made for two of them.
Some would have guessed Haynes King, who has since gone down with a leg injury. Other candidates would have included Isaiah Spiller, Jalen Wydermyer, or even Devon Achane if you felt like rifling off a hot take. And again, a lot of these guys are having great years, but none of it is unexpected.
One of the most impactful players in 2021 for this Aggie football team has been Antonio Johnson, a sophomore defensive back.
Johnson did have a strong freshman year, playing in seven games and starting in one. He included 14 total tackles, shared a tackle for loss, and deflected a pass. That said, he was somewhat of an afterthought in a talented Aggie secondary that included Leon O’Neal, Jaylon Jones, Myles Jones, and Demani Richardson.
Thus far in 2021, he has been far from an afterthought. The Aggie defensive back has recorded 55 tackles on the year, which leads the team. He has recorded four of these tackles behind the line of scrimmage but has done strong work all over the field. If there is a play to be made by a defensive back, Johnson is making that play a lot of the time.
Johnson also has four pass deflections on the year, making opposing receivers’ lives difficult on the field. His elite coverage has resulted in just a single interception, though I’m sure there are many more to come.
Again, you’d have to make a tough argument for Johnson being the best player on the team so far, but Texas A&M’s success, particularly in pass coverage and second-level tackling, has benefitted immensely from a big year out of Antonio Johnson.