Missouri didn’t hire Houston offensive line coach Brandon Jones for the exclusive purpose to land former Cougars All-AAC guard Cam’Ron Johnson... But I wouldn’t have blamed them if they did.
We’ve been discussing the prospects of a Houston reunion in Columbia for Jones and Johnson for more than a month, and it appears as if our wish has been granted. This is obviously great news for the Tigers. Mizzou needed an infusion of talent along the interior of the offensive line, and Johnson was arguably the best interior lineman available in the transfer portal. He only allowed one sack in 556 pass-blocking snaps last season, according to Pro Football Focus. He’s a better pass blocker than run blocker, but he should serve as an upgrade in both areas relative to what the Tigers became accustomed to along the interior of their offensive line last season.
Where he fits: This is where things get a bit tricky. The Tigers seem to have two spots written in pen: returning starter Javon Foster will retain his spot at left tackle, and Eastern Michigan transfer Marcellus Johnson is expected to open the season at right tackle. The interior appears to be up in the air.
Big pickup for Mizzou as Houston transfer offensive lineman Cam’Ron Johnson will reunite with his former OL coach Brandon Jones.— SEC Mike (@MichaelWBratton) May 6, 2023
Johnson was First-Team All-American Athletic Conference last season, started all 13 games at left guard and allowed just one sack in 556 opportunities https://t.co/4zMywZ0mE7
Mizzou beat writer Dave Matter suggested last week Johnson is expected to compete to start at center. That could be the way for the Tigers to get their “best five” on the field with Foster at left tackle, Cam’Ron Johnson at center, Armand Membou at right guard, Marcellus Johnson at right tackle and one of Xavier Delgado or EJ Ndoma-Ogar at left guard.
Another possibility would be leaving Johnson at his natural position as the starter at left guard, and trying one of the returning players at center. It really comes down to Johnson’s comfort adjusting to center. If he can snap the ball and he feels comfortable making the calls at the line, I see no reason why he can’t make the adjustment. That would be the best-case scenario for the Tigers’ offensive line.
When he’ll play: This one is easy. Cam’Ron Johnson is going to come in and start from day one. Maybe that’s at center. Maybe it’s at left guard. Either way, he’ll play every snap he’s available for, and he’ll immediately serve as a significant upgrade from what the Tigers had available at that position a year ago.
I asked Cam’Ron Johnson why he chose Mizzou, and promised the Tigers’ offensive line will not be a problem for the team next year— Chris Kwiecinski (@OchoK_) May 10, 2023
Gotta say, I believe him.
My column on why I do: https://t.co/7dPX1euLJy
What it all means: Missouri just added one of the most highly sought after offensive linemen in the transfer portal. If Johnson simply slides back into his natural position at left guard, it’s a great addition. If he feels comfortable at center, man, it’s hard to overstate what that could open up for the rest of the offensive line.
Missouri went into the offseason with a clear need to add via the transfer portal at quarterback, offensive line, wide receiver, tight end and defensive end. They added at four of the five positions, with the lone exception coming at tight end. It’s been another solid offseason of transfer additions for Eli Drinkwitz. If Johnson is the final significant addition to the roster prior to the fall, he’s a pretty darn good one.