They’ve been calling Tyler Johnson “Big Country” around the halls of Glencoe High since the day he transferred from Southside. They’ll be calling him that from the minute he signs with Jacksonville State on Wednesday, too.
Johnson, a 6-foot-6, 320-pound offensive lineman, confirmed his commitment to the Gamecocks on Monday. He actually made the decision during last week’s ice storm.
“Coach (Lee) Ozmint gave me that name the first day I came to Glencoe,” Johnson said Monday. “He was taking me around and said, ‘I’ve got a good nickname for you, “Big Country.”’
“I ended up not thinking it would stick, but they call me that every day. People most of the time don’t know what my other name really is. Already the coaches at JSU are like, ‘This is “Big Country.”’
Johnson had been hooked on JSU for a while. He had gotten interest from several smaller schools and made an unofficial visit tour throughout the Southeastern Conference — Auburn wanted him as a preferred walk-on — but he always had his sights on the Gamecocks.
“You want to know who wants you,” he said. “One of the first things they told me was we want you, we think you’d be great for our team. That was one of the biggest things that caught my attention.”
Johnson said he was “definitely worried” when former JSU coach Bill Clark left for UAB, but his previous recruiting relationship with new Gamecocks head coach John Grass helped ease the tension. He took his official visit three days after Clark’s resignation became official.
Johnson played guard for Glencoe, but he’s likely to wind up a tackle at JSU.
Al Muskewitz covers Jacksonville State sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3577.