Houston was looking to effectively end Memphis’ hopes of victory, but Tigers defensive back Quindell Johnson wasn’t going to allow that.
In an American Athletic Conference matchup in 2021, the Cougars faced third and 4 on Memphis’ 42-yard line while leading 21-13 midway through the fourth quarter.
Houston wide receiver Tank Dell zoomed up the sideline as Johnson trailed. A pass floated over the top, and the Cougars seemed destined to go up by two possessions.
But in an instant, Johnson closed the gap. He reached out and deflected the ball away. Then he stood up and wagged his finger, indicating connecting on a deep shot wouldn’t be that easy against him.
Johnson seems comfortable in one-on-one coverage, but he would bring much more to an NFL team.
Quindell Johnson Stats and Highlights
Johnson has been on the All-AAC team since 2020. After consecutive years on the second team in 2020 and 2021, he made the first team a season ago.
As a senior, he led the conference and was 22nd in the country with four interceptions. He racked up 77 tackles, 5.5 for loss, to go with two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and four pass breakups that year.
As a junior, he was 12th in the nation with 5.5 solo tackles per game and 27th with 8.8 total tackles per game. He ended the season with 104 total tackles, 66 solo and 4.5 for loss, with 11 pass breakups, an interception, and a fumble recovery.
For his career, Johnson tallied 320 total tackles, 226 solo and 15.5 for loss, with 10 interceptions, 34 passes defended, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and a sack.
Quindell Johnson Draft Projection
Going in the fifth round of the NFL Draft seems about right for Johnson. That could change depending on his pro day performance on March 27.
He’s being projected to go in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds. He’s graded outside of the top 250 by some experts and in the top 100 by others.
Quindell Johnson’s Memphis Career Defined By Versatility
Johnson can help an NFL team both with defending the run and pass. But that could leave franchises unsure of what kind of role he should take as a pro.
Johnson is phenomenal when the ball is in the air. As he did against Dell and Houston, he closes gaps quickly and times his attempts to swat passes away well.
He can handle covering deep zones. He’s also comfortable in isolated situations, even against opponents with NFL-level speed.
Johnson’s instincts help tremendously with that. He often deciphers an offense’s intent accurately, meaning he prepares well because he knows what to watch out for. Johnson is also smooth and composed in coverage.
In 2020, Navy tried to run a quick curl in the middle of the field in the red zone on third and 9 late in the first half. Johnson read the quarterback’s eyes, and as soon as the receiver turned around, Johnson darted forward. He arrived just in time to pick the ensuing pass off.
As evidenced by his tackle numbers, Johnson isn’t afraid of physicality. He’s aggressive with run support.
Johnson could work on maneuvering in a crowd and knowing how to gain leverage when he’s being blocked. He occasionally struggled in those situations.
But he could still be valuable as a mid-round pick if he lands in a situation that accentuates what he does best.