The 2023 class is loaded with talent, including the wide receiver position. Many are focused on Jaxon Smith-Njigba at Ohio State and Kayshon Boutte at LSU, but a name you should not miss is Quentin Johnston. He has shown flashes of what he can do in two seasons and needs to put together a more consistent performance in 2022.
Career at TCU
Johnston was a top 75 recruit in 2020 that initially committed to Texas before flipping his decision to TCU. His freshman year started average until he exploded in his last two games. Johnston went over 100 yards against Oklahoma State and Louisiana Tech.
There were high expectations for Johnston in 2021, but injuries and poor QB play caused an up and down year. He ended up with 604 yards and six TDs, but it was either feast or famine. Johnston had four games under 50 yards, and his six TDs came in three of his eight games. He did have tremendous performances against two of the better teams on the schedule in Oklahoma and Baylor. He combined for 12 receptions for 298 yards and four touchdowns in those games.
Johnston has shown his ability on the field to dominate, but then there are some games where he disappears. Let’s look at the scouting report for him through two years.
- Hands – Johnston has excellent hands, can snatch the ball out of the air, and make tough catches under contact.
- Contested Catch – All you need to do is watch the Oklahoma game in 2021 to see his ability. He looked like Randy Moss out there jumping over defenders. He is very good at timing his jumps for 50/50 passes.
- Yards after Catch – TCU has been good in getting the ball in his hands in open space and can make things happen. Deeper down the field, he can make contact and spin-off defenders to make big plays.
- Tracks Ball – Johnston is very good at coming back to the ball on underthrown passes and out jumping defenders. He also can track the ball over his shoulder and make sure to be aware of where the sideline is to get a foot in bounds.
- Route Running – Sometimes, he does not run the crisp routes. Johnston is not a bad route runner but something that could take him to the next level.
- Physicality – While he does fight through contact very well, with his size at 6’4″, he needs to do it more consistently.
- Release – When Johnston can hesitate and use quickness off the line, the defenders don’t have a chance. When DBs get hands-on him, he is not as quick to beat the press, so that is something I will be watching for this season.
- Separation – This kind of goes with his route running. If he improves that, there should be more separation. He has the speed to beat defenders and, with better technique, would not have to have as many contested catch attempts.
2022 and Devy Outlook
Sonny Dykes takes over as the new TCU coach after four years at SMU. While at SMU, Dykes led the Mustangs to a 30-18 record, and all four years were in the top 32 in the NCAA in passing yards per game. There has not been a decision on the starting QB yet, but the new scheme should provide for a breakout for Johnston.
In the Dynasty Nerds Devy Rankings, he is the fifth-ranked WR but I have him as WR3. With a great season, he could surpass Jaxon Smith-Njigba for WR2 in the 2023 class. Johnston profiles more like an alpha outside receiver, while Njigba is more of a slot receiver. That could obviously change if Njigba plays more outside this year at Ohio State. In a recent Devy draft, Johnston was picked 11th overall, and I think that is a good range for him. Anywhere from late 1st to mid 2nd is worth the pick for his high potential.
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