NICO JOHNSON

Inside/Outside Linebacker

University of Alabama Crimson Tide

#35

6:01.7-249

Andalusia, Alabama

Andalusia High School

 

OVERVIEW

Johnson was one of the highest-rated recruits in Alabama’s 2009 signing class, but in four seasons with the Crimson Tide, the five-star recruit received only 21 starting assignments. A versatile player like Johnson did not seem to mind, as he saw considerable action, appearing in a total of 52 games for the national champions.

 

Despite the slew of four- and five-star recruits that occupy most of Alabama’s roster, the players embraced the team-first work ethic. While Johnson could have been given much more starting opportunities at other major colleges, securing those championship rings is what it means to be a Crimson Tide player.

 

With his career now behind him, he joined offensive lineman Barrett Jones as one of two members on the current squad to have helped Alabama win the national title after the 2009, 2011 and 2012 seasons. He closed out his career recording 163 tackles, including 16.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, seeing action at a variety of roles during his Tide career.

 

One of the elite linebackers in the 2009 recruiting class, Johnson follows in a long line of excellent linebacker prospects from the state of Alabama. He attended Andalusia High School, where he was a Parade, Super Prep, Prep Football Report and U.S. Army All-American selection, along with being a finalist for the first high school Butkus Award.

 

A consensus five-star recruit, Johnson was ranked as the nation’s 20th-best overall player in the ESPNU 150 and was 25th by Scout.com and 32nd overall in the Rivals.com. The Super Prep Dixie Defensive Player of the Year placed 18th on that recruiting service’s Elite 50 list and was regarded as their fourth-best linebacker in the country and the publication’s top-ranked player in the state of Alabama.

 

Johnson first began to garner serious attention from recruiters as a sophomore. He notched his career high in tackles in 2006 with 126 stops, including 81 solo tackles, 13.0 tackles for loss, three fumble recoveries and two interceptions. As a junior, he had 70 tackles, including 15.5 behind the line of scrimmage and three sacks.

 

In his final prep campaign, the linebacker registered 110 tackles (78 solos) with two sacks and was credited with eleven interceptions, despite missing three games with an injury. He also saw action on offense, scoring twice on ten receptions for 215 yards.

 

That performance earned Johnson Mobile Press-Register Super Southeast 120, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super Southern 100 and Orlando Sentinel All-Southern team honors in 2008. The two-time Alabama Sports Writers Association’s first-team 4A All-State selection (2007-08) would conclude his high school career by playing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

 

Johnson chose the University of Alabama over scholarship offers from Louisiana State, Southern California, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Texas A&M and Tennessee. He played behind All-American Don’t’a Hightower at weak-side outside linebacker during his freshman season, appearing in twelve contests with two starts, posting 28 tackles with a sack and 4.5 stops-for-loss for the eventual national champions, the first of three rings that he would earn.

 

As a sophomore, Johnson opened fall camp listed third on the depth chart at middle line-backer, but would go on to start seven of thirteen games for the Tide. He delivered 33 tackles and intercepted one pass for Nick Saban’s unit. In 2011, Johnson was again on the move, as the now 245-pound junior split time with C.J. Mosley at weak-side linebacker, again starting seven times in thirteen contests. He posted 47 tackles, 6.5 for losses and added to his interception total in the Tide’s base 3-4 defensive alignment.

 

As has been the process his first three seasons, Johnson shifted positions again, returning to middle linebacker, sharing the position with Trey DePriest. The senior earned five starting assignments and appeared in all fourteen games. He finished his final season with a career-best 55 tackles, causing two fumbles, both coming on tackles behind the line of scrimmage to receive his third championship ring.

 

CAREER NOTES

Johnson started 21-of-52 games at Alabama – two at weak-side outside linebacker; seven at weak-side inside linebacker and twelve at middle linebacker…Finished with 163 tackles (87 solos), as he delivered two sacks for minus 20 yards and 16.5 stops for losses of 49 yards…Credited with two QB pressures, as he caused four fumbles and recovered another…Deflected seven passes and had two interceptions…Joined offensive lineman Barrett Jones as one of two Crimson Tide players on last season’s roster to play for Alabama’s 2009, 2011 and 2012 national championship teams.

 

2012 SEASON

Johnson started five games at middle linebacker, appearing in all fourteen contests, as he recorded a career-high 55 tackles (23 solos) that included two stops for losses of six yards and one quarterback pressure…Caused two fumbles and deflected one pass…Named defensive player of the week by the Tide coaching staff following the Western Kentucky and Western Carolina games, and tabbed special teams player of the week after the Tennessee game….Came off the bench in the season opener vs. Michigan and made five tackles, with two solo stops…Earned his first start for the 2012 season vs. Western Kentucky and responded with a season-best eight tackles (four solo), as he forced a fumble for third time in his career and  also broke up a pass, as Hilltoppers managed only 46 rushing yards and 224 total, as Johnson earned defensive player-of-the-week honors from Alabama coaching staff…Totaled six tackles, including three solo stops and assisted on a tackle for a loss while he was also credited with a quarterback hurry in the shutout victory over Arkansas…In the Mississippi contest, Johnson produced four tackles (two solo) in win over the Rebels, as he helped limit Mississippi to 80 yards rushing and 218 total…Facing their fierce rivals, Louisiana State, the senior racked up a career-high 12 tackles (two solo, also assisted on a tackle for loss)…Was named an Alabama defensive player of the week following his four tackles (one for loss) vs. Western Carolina.

 

2011 SEASON

Nico Johnson was the Crimson Tide’s starting weak-side inside linebacker in the base 3-4 defense…One of the nation’s better run-stopping linebackers, he started seven games and saw action in all thirteen contests…Finished fourth on the team with 47 tackles, including 25 solo stops, 6.5 tackles for loss (-18 yards), one sack (-5 yards), a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, an interception and three pass deflections…Named the UA Defensive Player of the Week in three consecutive games, Mississippi, Tennessee and Louisiana State…In his first start for 2011, he delivered four tackles and recovered a fumble in a 38-30 decision over Florida, as he helped limit the Gators to just 15 yards rushing…The next week, vs. Vanderbilt, he recorded his second career interception and made three tackles with half of a tackle for loss…Produced a career-best two tackles for loss (-9 yards) and recorded his second-career sack (15 yards) vs. Mississippi, as he helped limit the Rebels to 141 total yards and just 28 yards on the ground. His seven tackles were a team high and the second-highest total of his career…In the Tennessee clash, he earned UA Defensive Player of the Week honors after registering six tackles with three solo stops, forced a fumble in the second half and deflected a pass that was intercepted by Dont’a Hightower… Was named player of the week for the third consecutive game, as he recorded eleven tackles, including three solo stops vs. Louisiana State…His 11 tackles were the most by an Alabama player in 2011.

 

2010 SEASON

Johnson played in all thirteen games and earned six starts at the middle linebacker position, finishing with 33 tackles while adding 22 solo stops and an interception…Made 3.5 tackles for loss (-7 yards) while recording one quarterback hurry and one pass break-up.

 

2009 SEASON

Johnson appeared in twelve games as a true freshman and made two starts at weak-side outside linebacker position vs. South Carolina and Tennessee…The Southeastern Conference All-Freshman team selection by the league coaches and Sporting News, he recorded 28 tackles (17 solos), 4.5 tackles for loss (-18 yards) and one sack (-15 yards).

 

INJURY REPORT

2012 Postseason…Did not participate in agility tests at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine due to a sports hernia.

 

AGILITY TESTS

4.75 in the 40-yard dash…1.74 10-yard dash…2.77 20-yard dash…4.44 20-yard shuttle…

7.20 three-cone drill…29-inch vertical jump…9’2” broad jump…420-pound bench press…

645-pound squat…320-pound power clean…32 7/8-inch arm length…9 ¼-inch hands…

77 ¼-inch wingspan.

 

HIGH SCHOOL

Johnson attended Andalusia (Ala.) High School, playing football for head coach Heath Harmon…Parade, Super Prep, Prep Football Report and U.S. Army All-American selection, along with being a finalist for the first high school Butkus Award…Consensus five-star recruit…Ranked as the nation’s 20th-best overall player in the ESPNU 150 and was 25th by Scout.com and 32nd overall in the Rivals.com…Super Prep Dixie Defensive Player of the Year, placed 18th on that recruiting service’s Elite 50 list and was regarded as their fourth-best linebacker in the country and the publication’s top-ranked player in the state of Alabama…As a sophomore, he recorded a career-high in tackles in 2006 with 126 stops, including 81 solo tackles, 13.0 tackles for loss, three fumble recoveries and a pair of interceptions…As a junior, he had 70 tackles, including 15.5 behind the line of scrimmage and three sacks…As a senior, he registered 110 tackles (78 solos) with two sacks and was credited with eleven interceptions, despite missing three games with an injury…Also saw action on offense, scoring twice on ten receptions for 215 yards…Earned Mobile Press-Register Super Southeast 120, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super Southern 100 and Orlando Sentinel All-Southern team honors in 2008…Two-time Alabama Sports Writers Association’s first-team 4A All-State selection (2007-08)…Played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

 

PERSONAL

Criminal Justice major…Born 6/19/90…Resides in Andalusia, Alabama.

 

 

PLAYER STATISTICS

DEFENSIVE STATISTICS
STATS GP GS TK SO AS FR FC INT TFL PBU SACK PRES
2009 12 02 028  17  11  00  01  0-0  04.5-18   02  1.0-15    00
2010 13 07 033  22  11  00  00  1-0  03.5-07   01  0.0-00    01
2011 13 07 047  25  22  01  01  1-2  06.5-18   03  1.0-05    00
2012 14 05 055  23  32  00  02  0-0  02.0-06   01  0.0-00    01
TOTAL 52 21 163  87  76  01  04  2-2  16.5-49    07  2.0-20    02

 

JOHNSON GAME BY GAME LOG

2012 Season

Date

Opponent

Score

Played

Int. Ret.

Tackles

Sacks

PBU

FC

Pres

No

Yds

TD

Ast

Solo

Asst
Loss

Solo
Loss

Loss
Yds

Ast

Solo

Yards

Michigan 09/01/12 Michigan 41-14

Yes

0

0

0

3

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Western Ky. 09/08/12 Western Ky. 35-0

Yes

0

0

0

4

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

Arkansas 09/15/12 at Arkansas 52-0

Yes

0

0

0

3

3

1

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

1

Fla. Atlantic 09/22/12 Fla. Atlantic 40-7

Yes

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Ole Miss 09/29/12 Ole Miss 33-14

Yes

0

0

0

2

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Missouri 10/13/12 at Missouri 42-10

Yes

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Tennessee 10/20/12 at Tennessee 44-13

Yes

0

0

0

2

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Mississippi St. 10/27/12 Mississippi St. 38-7

Yes

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

LSU 11/03/12 at LSU 21-17

Yes

0

0

0

10

2

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

Texas A&M 11/10/12 Texas A&M 24-29

Yes

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Western Caro. 11/17/12 Western Caro. 49-0

Yes

0

0

0

1

3

0

1

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

Auburn 11/24/12 Auburn 49-0

Yes

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

Georgia 12/01/12 Georgia 32-28

Yes

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Notre Dame 01/07/13 Notre Dame 42-14

Yes

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Season Totals

0

0

0

32

23

2

1

6

0

0

0

1

2

1

 

2011 Season

Date

Opponent

Score

Played

Int. Ret.

Tackles

Sacks

PBU

FC

Pres

No

Yds

TD

Ast

Solo

Asst
Loss

Solo
Loss

Loss
Yds

Ast

Solo

Yards

Kent St. 09/03/11 Kent St. 48-7

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Penn St. 09/10/11 at Penn St. 27-11

Yes

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

North Texas 09/17/11 North Texas 41-0

Yes

0

0

0

0

2

0

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

Arkansas 09/24/11 Arkansas 38-14

Yes

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Florida 10/01/11 at Florida 38-10

Yes

0

0

0

1

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Vanderbilt 10/08/11 Vanderbilt 34-0

Yes

1

2

0

2

1

1

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

Ole Miss 10/15/11 at Ole Miss 52-7

Yes

0

0

0

2

5

0

2

9

0

1

5

0

0

0

Tennessee 10/22/11 Tennessee 37-6

Yes

0

0

0

3

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

LSU 11/05/11 LSU 6-9

Yes

0

0

0

8

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Mississippi St. 11/12/11 at Mississippi St. 24-7

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Ga. Southern 11/19/11 Ga. Southern 45-21

Yes

0

0

0

4

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

Auburn 11/26/11 at Auburn 42-14

Yes

0

0

0

0

2

0

2

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

LSU 01/09/12 LSU 21-0

Yes

0

0

0

2

2

0

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

Season Totals

1

2

0

22

25

1

6

18

0

1

5

3

1

0

 

 

 

 

2010 Season

Date

Opponent

Score

Played

Int. Ret.

Tackles

Sacks

PBU

FC

Pres

No

Yds

TD

Ast

Solo

Asst
Loss

Solo
Loss

Loss
Yds

Ast

Solo

Yards

San Jose St. 09/04/10 San Jose St. 48-3

Yes

0

0

0

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Penn St. 09/11/10 Penn St. 24-3

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Duke 09/18/10 at Duke 62-13

Yes

0

0

0

2

4

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Arkansas 09/25/10 at Arkansas 24-20

Yes

0

0

0

3

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

Florida 10/02/10 Florida 31-6

Yes

1

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

South Carolina 10/09/10 at South Carolina 21-35

No

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Mississippi 10/16/10 Mississippi 23-10

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Tennessee 10/23/10 at Tennessee 41-10

Yes

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

LSU 11/06/10 at LSU 21-24

Yes

0

0

0

3

2

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

Mississippi St. 11/13/10 Mississippi St. 30-10

Yes

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Georgia St. 11/18/10 Georgia St. 63-7

Yes

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

Auburn 11/26/10 Auburn 27-28

Yes

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

Michigan St. 01/01/11 Michigan St. 49-7

Yes

0

0

0

1

3

0

1

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

Season Totals

1

0

0

11

22

1

3

7

0

0

0

1

0

1

 

2009 Season

Date

Opponent

Score

Played

Int. Ret.

Tackles

Sacks

PBU

FC

Pres

No

Yds

TD

Ast

Solo

Asst
Loss

Solo
Loss

Loss
Yds

Ast

Solo

Yards

Virginia Tech 09/05/09 at Virginia Tech 34-24

No

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

FIU 09/12/09 FIU 40-14

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

North Texas 09/19/09 North Texas 53-7

Yes

0

0

0

1

3

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

Arkansas 09/26/09 Arkansas 35-7

No

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Kentucky 10/03/09 at Kentucky 38-20

Yes

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Mississippi 10/10/09 at Mississippi 22-3

Yes

0

0

0

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

South Carolina 10/17/09 South Carolina 20-6

Yes

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Tennessee 10/24/09 Tennessee 12-10

Yes

0

0

0

6

2

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

LSU 11/07/09 LSU 24-15

Yes

0

0

0

0

2

0

1

15

0

1

15

0

0

0

Mississippi St. 11/14/09 at Mississippi St. 31-3

Yes

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Chattanooga 11/21/09 Chattanooga 45-0

Yes

0

0

0

1

3

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

Auburn 11/27/09 at Auburn 26-21

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

Florida 12/05/09 Florida 32-13

Yes

0

0

0

0

2

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

Texas 01/07/10 Texas 37-21

Yes

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Season Totals

0

0

0

11

17

1

4

18

0

1

15

2

1

0

 

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