Prior relationship with Baker leads to offer for 2020 DB Johnson

Stefan Adams
4 min read
As the Canes continue their hunt for safeties in the 2020 class, their search has brought them to Louisiana, where Helen Cox High 3-star Donovan Johnson earned an offer earlier this month.

“It felt good. I caught me by surprise,” Johnson said. “I was fresh off of workouts my coach called me into his office. I got on the phone with coach (Blake) Baker and he asked what I was up to. He said they were gonna offer, me and it was out of nowhere, it caught me by surprise. So, yeah that was my first time talking to all of them, the whole defensive staff. I talked to everybody, it was over speaker phone.”

UM’s recruiting in Louisiana has been very active this cycle and that’s no accident: new Miami DC Blake Baker still has plenty of ties from his time coaching at Louisiana Tech and Johnson is already familiar with Baker.

“Coach Blake Baker, I knew him since he was at La Tech, but that was the first time I talked to him since he was at the U. He says I’m a great safety.”

Where does UM rank in his mind now that he has an offer?

“Definitely planning a visit to get out there,” Johnson said of UM. “They’re going to be one of my top.”

Growing up, Johnson was certainly fond of some of Miami’s great football players and loved to watch them play as a kid.

“One of my guys I looked up to when I was younger was Sean Taylor, and I used to watch highlights of Ray Lewis and Devin Hester,” Johnson said. “All of the great players came out of the U. It’s just a great place - you could workout on the beach, we don’t have that in New Orleans.”

Of course, when recruiting an out of state prospect, making sure they are comfortable being a far distance from home is always a consideration. However, for Johnson, he feels that leaving Louisiana for school would be a positive.

“It’s not a problem at all. I really don’t need a place that feels like home,” Johnson said. “I’ve been through a lot, been to a lot of places, so I know how to handle different places and I can make my way out, make my own way. I’m also into meeting new people, getting into different areas. I don’t mind.”

In terms of other programs pushing for Johnson, Power 5 schools such as Colorado, Utah, Arizona State, Baylor, Texas Tech, and Georgia Tech have all recently gotten involved. Johnson also just used his first official visit of the process, and that went to Arizona two weeks back.

It was a big junior season on the field for Helen Cox that saw Johnson get all of this new interest, but he says that he has higher standards for himself.

“I had 65 tackles, 5 picks, 17 PBU’s, 2 forced fumbles, 2 FG’s blocked, and 1 punt block,” Johnson said. “I didn’t meet my all my own goals besides the PBU’s and interceptions. I wanted to have every pick I made returned for touchdowns. I have a whole list of it - more FG blocks definitely. I did alright, but I didn’t meet my own standards – to other people, I did good.”

The 6’2” 180 pound safety is looking to make a summer decision and Johnson already has a sense of what he is looking for in his program of choice.

“I’d say education, but a coach don’t recruit anybody that says they want to be a doctor, they’re looking for a baller,” Johnson said. “So I’m looking for player development, I want to be developed as a player and a man. Also I’m looking for somewhere with a good graduation percentage.”


Comments (21)

Has this kid had testing done? He certainly has the size and the attitude of a Cane.
Mature kid. Cane lock if we really want him. Has good feet and size. If he improves his speed I could see a move to Striker.
Well, based on his they're looking for a baller not a doctor comment he's definitely smart enough to be self aware of the meat market that is college football.
What SFL safety are we recruiting now, since Tennison decommitted.
Great attitude. Sounds like he's been through adversity and not afraid to step up.
He has really good instincts as well. I know he runs a 4.66, but that can easily become a low 4.6 high 4.5 by the end of his senior year and once he gets in a S&C program he will get a little faster. And if he plays strikers, thoughs number are just fine
Good attitude that we need on this team... if this is a Plan B recruit I’m all over this sign him up
Love this kids tape, just sits back there at safety and is a ballhawk. Not afraid to lay the wood either.