WR Fresno State
When I think of Fresno State, it immediately conjures up images of Jerry Tarkanian and his towel; KeeSean Johnson turning a defender on a double move is now a close second. His progression as a player is obvious with a glance at his statistics: Johnson increased his receptions, yardage, and touchdowns each year with the Bulldogs.
KeeSean Johnson racked up 1,340 yards and 8 TDs on 95 catches, but never appeared to exert any effort. That’s not to say he doesn’t play hard, but everything he does is easy and smooth. The ball appears to dock in his hands rather than be caught. He reads zone coverages well, but Johnson is a master manipulator against man defenses. He makes double moves without breaking stride, and Johnson will wait for a defensive back to turn his hips before breaking sharply in another direction, creating miles of separation. Johnson has the same smoothness when he makes a catch downfield; if the quarterback can hit him in stride, Johnson’s transition to a runner is instantaneous. When he is in traffic, he will high point the ball and keep it elevated out of harm’s way.
The problem with having such easy athleticism is that it’s obvious when Johnson is not putting out 100 percent effort. Even though Johnson is never blazing off the line, there is a huge difference between his release on a run play versus his break when he believes he could be targeted. (It’s the football equivalent of tipping pitches.) Johnson is also an adventure on the sideline, preferring to make plays downfield on slants and posts. Although he was utilized a fair amount in the screen game, Johnson doesn’t have the short area wiggle that gets a lot of extra yardage.
KeeSean Johnson is on track to be a solid receiver at the next level. Although he doesn’t have the skillset to be a team’s alpha, Johnson has the potential to be a devastating complimentary piece across from a number one.