Third-year player ranks as a strong contender for playing time at nose tackle in 2009 . . . made the transition from defensive end inside to nose tackle during spring practice . . . his steady improvement ranked as one of the "pleasant surprises" of the spring, according to defensive line coach Ted Gill.
2008 SEASON: Redshirted.
2007 SEASON (FRESHMAN): Sat out the entire 2007 season for academic reasons.
HIGH SCHOOL AND PERSONAL DATA: Ranked among the nation's top 50 prep school prospects by Rivals.com (No. 37) . . . rated among the country's top defensive ends by Scout.com (No. 64) . . . played for Coach Bill Chaplick at Milford Academy in New Berlin, N.Y., where he finished third on the Falcon defense in production points . . . recorded 26 tackles (12 solos, 14 assists) in 2006, with seven resulting in losses including five sacks, while helping the Falcons to a 7-3 record . . . credited with nine quarterback hurries and recovered three fumbles in 2006 . . . two-year starter at both defensive end and tight end for Coach Gary Mobley at Rahway (N.J.) High School where he helped the Indians to a combined record of 16-6 . . . earned all-area, all-county and All- Group 2 honors as a senior . . . posted 60 tackles in 2005, with 18 resulting in losses including nine sacks . . . forced four fumbles and recovered two . . . four-year starter for the Rahway basketball team . . . earned All-Group 2 third-team honors after averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds as a senior . . . son of Paulette Johnson . . . born April 16, 1987 . . . majoring in criminal justice.