Garner Hire Exciting For 4-Star Juco DT

Toby Johnson

Four-star junior college defensive tackle Toby Johnson talks about the hiring of Rodney Garner at Auburn and when he plans to visit the Tigers.

College Park, Ga.--The hiring of Rodney Garner to coach the defensive line for the Auburn Tigers is already paying dividends for new head coach Gus Malzahn as one of the top junior college defensive tackles in the country says he plans to visit the Tigers in January.

A 6-4, 300-pounder with offers from across the country, Hutchinson Community College standout Toby Johnson has built a strong relationship with Garner over the last year in recruiting and now that he's at Auburn the Tigers are in a good position heading towards signing day.

"I didn't really know anything about him moving to Auburn until after it happened," Johnson tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "It's a good thing. I like Auburn a lot. I was going to give Auburn a visit anyway, but I was just waiting on them to get a defensive line coach.

"That helps Auburn a lot," he adds. "I wasn't sure whether or not I was going to have to build a relationship with somebody new in just a month and a half. We've been with each other for a minute and that's big for me."

Rated a four-star prospect by Scout.com, Johnson played high school football at Banneker in Georgia before heading to Hutchinson. A player who got some recruiting attention coming out of high school, Johnson notes that he's very familiar with Malzahn and he's expecting big things out of the Tigers in the future.

"I have been knowing Coach Malzahn since high school," Johnson says. "He's a good guy. I know he's ready to do big things for the program and I just want to be a part of something like that, a building process. I want to win also and they've got the players to win. I think Auburn is getting ready to get back to where they're supposed to be."

As a freshman at Hutchinson he made 52 tackles, two sacks, 10 tackles for a loss and 11 quarterback hurries. That set the stage for his recruiting to take off as the offers started pouring in with Nebraska, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Minnesota and Arkansas State the early schools on his list. Soon Georgia, Florida, Miami and Oklahoma all joined in the fray for Johnson as his stock continued to soar.

Having already taken visits to Oklahoma, Georgia and Missouri, Johnson says that he's got two more trips planned in the month of January before he makes his decision on signing day Feb. 6.

"I'm going to visit Mississippi State on Jan. 11th and Auburn on Jan. 18th," Johnson says. "There are a couple of other schools I'm looking at, but those are my final two visits."

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