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Chaminade DE Jamaal Johnson first on board for 2022, talks UM commitment

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Stefan Adams

Managing Editor
Feb 9, 2018
The term "dream school" certainly gets thrown around a lot, but 2022 Chaminade-Madonna (FL) 3-star DE Jamaal Johnson just got a little more literal with the phrase.

That’s because Johnson became the first commitment in the Miami Hurricanes’ 2022 class tonight after having what he says was constant recurring dreams about playing for UM.

“I just had to sit down with God and ask, ‘Is this the right choice for me?’ Because all I had been seeing in my dreams was UM, UM, UM,” Johnson said. “I was reading over my dream book and I could see I was always writing about UM. I just woke up with this good feeling this morning and said ‘You know what? Let’s go for it.’”

Later in the day, the 6-2 230 pound prospect called up Manny Diaz, Todd Stround, and the rest of the Hurricanes coaching staff to deliver the good news. Johnson chose UM over offers from Ole Miss, Kentucky, Pitt, and West Virginia among others.

“They were talking to my mom about the campus and they were telling me what was what, and it got quiet on the phone,” Johnson said. “Coach Diaz was like ‘Hey Jamaal, just say the word.’ I was like ‘Coach Diaz, coach Stroud, I’m officially committed to the University of Miami.’ Then they went crazy and said ‘Ok, that’s what we wanted to hear!’”

Lately, the Canes have been one of the hottest programs on the recruiting trail in the entire country, landing commitments from four 4-star targets and one 5-star target in 2021 in a little over a month, all of them local prospects to South Florida. Despite that, Johnson says his decision had nothing to do with the hype around Miami right now, and more about a feeling that UM was the right fit for him as a person.

“It wasn’t about [the hype], this was more of a personal thing to me,” Johnson said. “Growing up, I always liked UM because that’s the home team, I had no choice but to rock with UM. But this was sort of personal, this was something I just felt like would be the best decision for me right now to keep going forward.

“I just already felt the love there. Going there for junior day, I already felt the love from coach Diaz, coach Stroud, coach Banda, and coach Hickson. I was just looking around and felt like that was where I was supposed to be.”

The Canes are currently planning to use Johnson as an edger rusher, but the Chaminade star feels like he can be used all over the field at the next level.

“I could definitely see coach Stroud using me at 3-Tech or sometimes even going to outside linebacker,” Johnson said. “If you ask me, I can do it all.”

As mentioned, Johnson holds the honor of being the first pledge in Miami’s 2022 class. With that usually comes the responsibility of being a class ambassador of sorts and helping the staff to recruit other players, something Johnson can see himself doing.

“Coach Diaz talked to me about that and I could see myself working towards that,” Johnson said. “I feel like later in the future, I will start recruiting. One of my top targets is my teammate Kenyatta Jackson. But whatever Kenyatta wants to do, I’m going to be behind him.”

What are Johnson’s goals at Miami once he touches down in Coral Gables?

“I just want to be familiar with my team, I want to be familiar with the atmosphere I’m in. I just want to feel like I’m developing and feeling like I’m part of the team. I don’t want to rush anything, I want to take everything step-by-step to get to where I need to go.”

The Canes have also been active in recruiting Chaminade-Madonna in recent years: In the current 2021 recruiting class, UM has commitments from Lions’ players DT Allan Haye, RB Thad Franklin, and K Andres Borregales, while UM also signed three players from the school in the 2019 class (S Keontra Smith, CB Te’Cory Couch, and DE Cameron Williams). The cumulative effect of having all of those current and former teammates at Miami is not lost on Johnson, and it’s something he’s glad to be involved in.

“It feels great to just be a part of that, it just feels very shocking,” Johnson said. “I never thought this is where I’d end up.”

As a sophomore in 2019, Johnson put up 48 tackles, 12 TFL, 8 sacks, and 1 FR for a state championship winning Lions team that won their third straight title.

“I won states as a freshman too, so be to able to go back again just makes me feel like I could probably get a state championship my whole four years if I really put my mind to it and keep working hard, start being more of a leader on the team, being more outspoken with the team. It just feels great to be a part of that and I just want to play like a dog, just to have that dog mentality. Never take plays off, just every play, go hard. Just be the best version of myself, to be a monster on the field and be relentless.”



Redshirt Freshman
Aug 28, 2012
Just my two cents, I think his skill set is different than the other 22 defense ends. He seems he could gain weight and strength and play defense tackle. Then just maybe he stays at defensive end. I see use trying to sign 4 defensive ends next year.
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Jun 16, 2012
Blisset type hybrid. Great strength and motor.

His teammate Jackson, Stewart and Nolton obviously the other big targets, but ****, lets finish this year first


Redshirt Freshman
Jun 22, 2013
Someone mentioned Jamaal possibly growing into a DT. To be honest I never heard of Jamaal until today, but the kid looks good to me. I'm not worrying about his 3 star rating.