EDITOR’S NOTE: Introducing O-line week at Saturday Down South. This week we’ll talk to some of the biggest offensive line recruits and commitments in the SEC, get their take on things … and we’ll rank ‘em.
Eli Johnson can’t wait for the hatred.
He can’t wait for those Saturday nights in Tuscaloosa, or Auburn, or Baton Rouge, or College Station, you name it. Those nights when 90 to 100 thousand fans are spewing forth venom even a rattlesnake would find offensive. Then there’s Mississippi State’s Davis Wade Stadium, which only has 55,000 seats, but you have to double their fans’ venom … so the hatred will be the same.
Johnson, a 2016 Ole Miss commitment, is really looking forward to it all.
“It’ll be the most exciting, fun time of my life,” Johnson told Saturday Down South. “I’ll be enjoying the big lights … and going into a hostile environment where people are yelling just to try to mess you up. It’s going to be a business trip when we travel, but I’ll be doing it with 100 or so of my best friends and it’ll be us against their world. I’m pretty excited.”
That SEC West competition is the most brutal in the country within one division, and he knows it.
“It’ll be fun,” Johnson told SDS. “You can not let off the gas pedal one bit when you go out and play a ballgame. You’ve got to be excited and go out every time. There is no room for error or slacking. It’s a competition, that’s all it is, that’s why I’m excited about it.”
Johnson is an Oxford (Miss.) native, so he knows all about Ole Miss football. He’s a four-star offensive line prospect, and part of a 2016 Rebels class that already sports three members—the biggest group in the country among FBS schools. He joins DeKaylin Metcalf and Justin Conner as part of that class. The trio has to wait nearly 20 months before they get to sign, as they’re just wrapping up their sophomore years … but Johnson said that’s just fine. He’ll use that time to get bigger and better and he’s not as frustrated by the wait as many other early commitments say they are.
One day—later this decade—Johnson will join Metcalf and Conner as they try to topple their SEC West rivals.
He is super excited about it.
“I honestly want to see how good I am,” Johnson told SDS. “I’m excited about the opportunity to see guys who are the best at what they do, and I just want to go and prove myself on that stage against that type of talent. I like already knowing where I’m going … I think Coach (Hugh) Freeze’s program, when you go in and sit down with him and meet with him, you have a hard time not believing in it. I fully believe, 100 percent, that we can win a national title and definitely compete in the SEC. All of the coaches and every person involved has bought into it. I’ve been all over and nothing has caught my attention like Ole Miss.