Florida Gators football: Johnson’s love of the game shows

He knew the instant the offer came. Roderick Johnson couldn’t get the words “yes” out of his mouth quick enough when Will Muschamp and the Gators offered him a scholarship.

Johnson is a charismatic, emotional player and he made the decision to attend Florid almost instantaneously. He would later decommit from the Gators only to find his way back into the 2013 recruiting class.

Johnson sat out as a freshman, needing to hone and refine his craft before he was ready to play college football. The process was difficult but he realized it was the best thing for him.

“As a freshman, you know it was kind of hard to adjust and get used to everything,” he said. “As time went by, I matured and got a certain mindset that OK I’m going to buy into the program and do what all the coaches say, and I’m going to train myself to become a good player.”

Johnson impressed the coaching staff with his ability and the way he attacked practice.

He’s made a bigger impression, however, on everyone with his on the field antics. Johnson has been described as emotional. Like Dominique Easley, Johnson can be seen dancing and enjoying himself on the field. In fact, Johnson claims that is exactly where he got some of the moves.

“I ain’t going to lie, I get it from Easley, really. I get it from Dominique Easley, all the dancing and all that stuff like that. I just love football,” he said. “I grew up a big fan of football and it’s just my character. You’ve going to see that for the next three or four years that I’m here.”

Johnson’s love of the game comes through him. It takes over his body and at times he can’t control the emotions that courses through his veins. He’s been hit with a few penalties this season and is learning to control that energy and emotion.

He has good role models on the offensive line in Max Garcia, Chaz Green and D.J. Humphries. The former 5-star recruit from North Carolina sees a lot of himself in Johnson and has taken the redshirt freshman under his wing.

“He’s so energetic and just excited to play ball and just turnt up as soon as he makes a play he just ready to sell out everybody,” Humphries said of Johnson. “I just try to tell him you gotta calm down, bro, just be ready to make the next play, good or bad and be ready to do the same thing over again.”

Johnson has worked his way into the rotation this season — earning starts against Kentucky and Alabama due to injury — and has played exceptionally well.

“He’s been doing an unbelievable job this year, just the way he’s developed since last year when he didn’t play at all and now him being one of those guys that are rotating in there at the right tackle position,” Max Garcia said. “He’s been doing a great job, the way he’s been preparing.”

Garcia and Johnson room together when the Gators travel. He’s helped Johnson prepare for games on the road and get his mind ready the night before. He, like everyone else that has watched Johnson play, has gotten a kick out of the emotion that Johnson plays with. Garcia and his teammates get a kick out of it but they aren’t the only ones. The Florida coaching staff has enjoyed a little levity while breaking down film each Sunday and Monday.

“They get a kick out of it when they watch it on film,” Johnson said. “Every Monday they get a kick out of that.”

Johnson has a lot of time left at Florida and he projects to be a starter at one of the two tackle positions for years to come. That means plenty of dancing is in store for Gators’ fans.

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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC