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An Unprecedented Family

By Matt Osborne
SouthernPigskin.com
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There have been a number of elite brother tandems in the history of college football recruiting, but you could certainly make the argument that no two brothers have been subjected to the pressures of early recruiting pitches like De’Andre and Tyreke Johnson.

Producing high-caliber high school prospects has never been a problem for the state of Florida, but for one family in Jacksonville, talent on the gridiron is firmly rooted in their genetic structure.

De’Andre and Tyreke Johnson, who actually attend different high schools in the Jacksonville area despite their bloodlines, are ranked as top prospects nationally for their respective recruiting classes.

De’Andre, a class of 2015 quarterback who plays for First Coast High School, has already committed to Florida State and coach Jimbo Fisher. He began to attract the attention of college recruiters during his freshman season, when he threw for 2,912 yards and 32 touchdowns playing in a very tough region in the Sunshine State.

Though he lacks the ideal size for the position at just 6-0, De’Andre has outstanding footwork and delivers an accurate football with plenty of zip. His throwing motion is fluid and effortless, and he is also an excellent leader in the huddle.

Playing his high school football at one of Florida State’s biggest pipeline programs, De’Andre decided to get his collegiate decision out of the way very early in the recruiting process, giving his verbal pledge to the Seminoles prior to the start of his sophomore season.

His early commitment has not hindered other recruiting powers from vying for his services, however. Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Florida and Ohio State are just a few of the schools that have thrown their hats into the ring with scholarship offers.

The flurry of schools staying in frequent contact have forced De’Andre to keep his options open, though he says that he is currently solid to the Seminoles.

“I’m still pretty solid right now,” the elder Johnson told Southern Pigskin about his current to Florida State. “They are my number one school at the moment.”

And while De’Andre’s exceptional offer list is certainly indicative of his outstanding athletic abilities, it is his brother, Tyreke, who is enduring the more peculiar recruitment.

De’Andre’s decision to verbally commit to a college prior to the start of his sophomore season was considered to be atypical.

Tyreke’s recruitment, however, is virtually unprecedented.

A member of the future class of 2018, Tyreke recently became just the second non-quarterback to receive a scholarship offer before completing the seventh grade. 

Louisiana prospect Dylan Moses recently made headlines when he received an offer from LSU prior to the start of his eighth grade season, but his offer came during the summer and not prior to the completion of his seventh grade year.

Jahlen Mack from Bellevue, Washington recently became the first non-quarterback to receive a scholarship before the end of his seventh grade year when Vanderbilt extended an offer in April.

Showing enough natural talent to be moved up to Trinity Christian High School’s varsity squad when he was still just 12 years old, Tyreke currently holds offers from Vanderbilt and Florida Atlantic, and says that he is receiving very high interest from Florida State, Clemson, Ohio State, LSU and Louisville, amongst others.

Already built like a college safety, Tyreke’s combination of size (6-1, 172) and speed (4.6 40-yard dash) are virtually unparalleled for a prospect of his age. It is his uncharacteristic size and athleticism which have allowed a couple of FBS programs to deem him worthy of a scholarship offer before he even reaches his final year of middle school.

With a flood of offers undoubtedly coming his way in the near future, Tyreke is attempting to ignore all of the hype surrounding his recruitment, and instead focus his attention on improving his game on the gridiron.

“It really doesn’t mean nothing right now because I’m still young and I can’t go to college now,” Tyreke commented on his offers following the recent Explosive Sports Football Camp at Camden County High School in Kingsland, Georgia. “The only it means to me is that I’ve got ahold of scholarships and I’ve got to work to get more.”

Refreshingly humble in his approach to the recruiting process, Tyreke is currently reaping the benefits of sharing a household with a fellow football phenomenon.

Unprecedented as Tyreke’s recruitment may be in the world of college football recruiting, De’Andre has still been able provide valuable insight and guidance as his younger brother deals with colleges across the nation. But even in all of the hoopla, he has also found time to reflect upon just how proud he is of his sibling.

“I’m very proud [of Tyreke], because when I started my recruiting trail I was in like eighth grade as well,” De’Andre commented. “My goal was to be the first person to get an offer, but he beat me to it, so I’m proud of him for that.”

The two brothers say that they work out together at least three or four times a week, and those sessions spent working alongside one other have certainly helped expedite Tyreke’s learning curve.

Being so close with each other, De’Andre makes sure that he goes out of his way to not take it easy on his little brother. Rather, he attempts to exploit the few weaknesses in Tyreke’s game to give his younger brother continuous motivation to strive for improvement.

“As you saw today, he challenged me,” Tyreke said following a tough camp workout. “He knows my age and my abilities, and he tries to pick at it to make me stronger in those situations, so in a game I can make less mistakes.”

There have been a number of elite brother tandems in the history of college football recruiting, but you could certainly make the argument that no two brothers have been subjected to the pressures of early recruiting pitches like De’Andre and Tyreke Johnson.

This book is still far from finished for two prospects who appear destined for stardom.

And despite how you may feel about recruiting prospects at such a young age, there is no doubt that this is a story which we will continue to watch with great interest.

 

Seventh-grader Tyreke Johnson Grabs First Scholarship Offer (Video)

2015 Florida State QB Commit De'Andre Johnson

Matt Osborne - Matt Osborne currently serves as the director of recruiting and lead editor for Southern Pigskin. His work has been published in a number of national publications, including USA Today. Although he loves all levels of football, Matt's number one joy in his life is his relationship with Jesus Christ. Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattOsborne200. For media requests, please email Matt at matt@southernpigskin.com.