Perhaps nobody on the roster got thrown into the fire late in the season more than true freshman linebacker Jakob Johnson. After the sudden suspension of senior A.J. Johnson, Jakob, who played sparingly on special teams and occasionally on defense, was promoted to starting inside linebacker against Missouri and Vanderbilt.
It wasn’t always pretty. But that’s what should be expected for such a young player who has only been playing football for a few years after moving to America from Germany. He was replaced late in the Vandy game by Kenny Bynum, but that shouldn’t be taken as a sign that Jakob Johnson won’t be a big factor going forward. Having the benefit of those live game reps, he should have a better understanding of what it takes to play linebacker at the SEC level and can prepare appropriately during bowl practices. He’s in the mix to play a lot against Iowa and will have a shot to lock down a permanent starting role in 2015 and beyond, so these practices will be huge for him.