Syracuse Football: 2017 Signee Nykeim Johnson is a Hidden Gem

The Syracuse football program got some great recruits, but several of them flew under the radar. Here’s one signee you should be paying attention too.

One of Syracuse football’s least talked about recruits in the class of 2017 has been Nykeim Johnson. The speedy wide receiver out of Friendship Academy in Washington D.C has flown under the radar a bit.

What Johnson lacks in size, measuring at 5-foot 9-inch 165-pound, he makes up for in speed. Scout.com lists Johnson’s 40-yard dash time at 4.42, he clearly has tremendous speed and agility.

Johnson will likely line up in the slot for Syracuse. He will be competing for Brisly Estime’s former position along with guys like Sean Riley and Sean Avant.

Both are extremely inexperienced and Johnson has a real shot to come in here and make an impact from day one. Lets look at some of his highlights:

One of the first things that jumps out on his tape is his ability to beat people deep. Johnson can simply make one quick cut and leave his defender in the dust.

This happens at the 1:27 mark, Johnson gives a jab move to the outside then cuts back down the seem for a big pass play. Johnson can also run the go route well as shown at the 2:09 mark.

Finally, Nykeim will be a problem for teams on quick routes and screens. At the :58 mark, you

see Johnson get off the line with real speed and run a basic slant route over the middle of the field. He dusts the DB and makes one move on the safety and by then its too late as Johnson scores on yet another big play. One of the main things that separates Johnson from Estime is that he is a better route runner in my opinion. He seems to break in and out of his cuts much more fluidly than Estime.

One other thing that Brisly Estime did very well for Syracuse was return punts. Johnson will have a shot to come in and do that for the Orange also. In his highlight tape Johnson returns multiple kick-offs and punts for touchdowns. He has elite speed and when he is in the slot, you simply cannot put a linebacker or a bigger safety on him or they will get burned.

The D.C native has flown under the radar a bit in his recruitment. He committed to Syracuse back in June and spurned away schools such as Virginia, Navy, and Bowling Green. He wasn’t all that highly recruited but his speed and play-making ability make him a problem to cover. This is a guy that can thrive in Dino Babers’ high octane offensive system.

Be sure to look for more signing day coverage over the next week or so.

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