Signed: Nation's No. 3 Cornerback Jakailin Johnson Gives Ohio State a Polished Cornerback That Still Hasn't Reached His Potential

By Kevin Harrish on December 16, 2020 at 8:35 am
Jakailin Johnson

The Buckeyes officially have a new member of BIA.

After Ohio State desperately needed to bring in some defensive back talent in this 2021 recruiting class, and that mission has been accomplished with four-star cornerback Jakailin Johnson leading the way.

The Buckeyes welcome five new defensive backs in this recruiting class, and Johnson will be the highest-rated of the bunch when he signs with Ohio State on Wednesday, checking in as the No. 47 overall player in the 2021 class and the No. 3 cornerback.

The Johnson File

  • Class: 2021
  • Size: 6-foot-1/175 lbs.
  • Pos: CB
  • School: DeSmet (St. Louis, MO)
  • Composite Rating: ★★★★
  • Composite Rank: 47 (3 CB)

Johnson heads to Ohio State with plenty of hype and lofty expectations, and for good reason.

At 6-foot-1 and 175-pounds, Johnson has the ideal size and length Ohio State defensive coordinator and secondary coach Kerry Coombs looks for in his cornerbacks. He's also got speed, quickness and a rare polish to his game, in part due to his high school coach.

Robert Steeples has coached Johnson for four years, and he knows the cornerback position, playing corner at both the college and NFL level and even interviewing for Notre Dame's secondary coach position at one point.

Steeples says that after four years of working with Johnson, he believes the now-Buckeye is more polished and ready to play than any other cornerback in the country.

“I think he’s got the ability to play early,” Steeples told Eleven Warriors. “He’s got elite speed, is extremely physical, and he’s excellent with ball skills. In my opinion, (he's) probably the best (cornerback) in the country. I’ve watched a lot of those guys’ film, and they’re really talented and athletic. But as far as just polished, he’s probably the most polished cornerback there is."

But that doesn't mean there isn't room for growth, either. Because as talented and polished as he is, Steeples also acknowledges Johnson has yet to even come close to his peak as a player.

“Oh, well I definitely think he’s far from peaking,” Steeples said. “When I say he’s polished, he’s polished at this level. He can put on weight and get stronger. ... We talk about IQ a lot and just having a plan and developing IQ. One thing that he’ll definitely have from Coach Coombs is a guy that has a lot of IQ. And even better at the college level, they have the time to go even more in-depth with it.”

And for that development, Steeples has full confidence in Ohio State cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs.

“I’ll tell you, (Coombs) sold me on him. I know his credentials and what he brings,” Steeples said of Coombs. “These kids are like my sons, and he seems like the type of man who I would trust with them. There’s a little bit of each other between us. We kind of view things the same way as coaches. 

“He’s awesome. He’s super knowledgeable at that position. I think the NFL journey probably makes him even better of a coach than he was when he left."

Steeples said Coombs has already compared Johnson to previous Buckeye cornerback greats like Marshon Lattimore and Bradley Roby, but at the end of the day, he expects Johnson to be his own type of player and hopefully become the prototype Ohio State looks for in the future.

"I think he’s gonna try to go be his own person and compete," Steeples said. "That’s what’s made him so special at our level. I hope that in three or four years, whoever they’re gonna be recruiting at Ohio State at corner they’re gonna have Jakailin as the comp that people would like to have."

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