Earlier this month Vols offensive lineman Antonio Richardson declared for the NFL draft. Now the Vols are patiently waiting for linebacker AJ Johnson’s decision about his future.
Johnson led the Vols in tackles in 2013, for the second straight season. The Gainesville native finished with 106 total tackles, which was 32 less than his sophomore season total.
For his efforts in 2013, Johsnon received several accolades, including AP, Coaches, Athlon Sports and Sporting News First-Team All-SEC honors.
While his numbers and accolades alone makes it seem like a no-brainer for Johnson to declare, it might not be the best idea. There’s some indication that Johnson wouldn’t be nearly as high of a draft pick as he would’ve been after his sophomore season, when he of course couldn’t declare.
Prior to the season, Bleacher Report draft analyst Matt Miller had Johnson as a late first round draft pick. In Miller’s latest projections, he had left Johnson out of the first round.
It’s probably in Johnson’s best interest to stay another year, but he could be worried about his draft stock falling even more.
Obviously the Vols need Johnson to return and his decision will be a huge one for team 118.