Getting to know the 2011 Oregon Duck newcomers: Tyler Johnstone

Getting to know the 2011 Oregon Duck newcomers: Tyler Johnstone

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Getting to know the 2011 Oregon Duck newcomers: Tyler Johnstone


Tyler Johnstone
OL – 6-6, 250, 4.93
Chandler, Ariz. (Hamilton HS)

2010 stats: team record 29-1, 25 straight wins, 2 consecutive state titles.  Rushing offense 264 yards per game, 7.4 yards per carry, 46 rushing touchdowns

The stereotypical offensive lineman is a bit of a Ferdinand the Bull, a lazy, easy-going guy who lacks the drive to play defensive tackle.

Not anymore.  Tyler Johnstone is very much in touch with his inner Brian Urlacher.  He brings a linebacker’s intensity and aggression to the offensive line, and it’s impressive to watch.  He has great drive as a football player, a guy who competes hard on every play.  It’s clear he wants to win, and understands winning means winning the confrontation in front of you. Part of the reason he plays in such a focused, intelligent way is that he’s also a 4.0 student. So much for the meme about offensive linemen with a lack of drive.

A little overlooked in high school because he played with Christian Westerman, a 5-star recruit who verballed to Texas and then signed with Auburn.  In two or three years, it might be very evident that the Ducks got the better end of the deal. rated Johnstone the 16th-best tackle prospect in the country, but it’s doubtful the other 15 play with any more desire than he does.  Johnstone is also the Duck who’s a movie star; he knocks Will Ferrell’s slushie off the hood of the car in “Everything Must Go.”

Rivals rating: 3*-5.7rr; #16 OT
Scout rating: 3*; #53 OT
ESPN rating: 3*-78 grade; #51 OT

Offers: Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State, Duke, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, Washington, Washington State, Boise State, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Northern Arizona, San Diego State, TCU, UNLV, UTEP

The big question some schools and recruiting services had about Johnstone was his weight; he was built more like a tight end in high school, but that’s less of a problem at Oregon.  For one thing, the Ducks’ system emphasizes agility and intelligence over mere bulk, making Tyler a perfect fit.  Linemen in the Oregon scheme have to be mobile and well-conditioned.  Max Williams of reported earlier this month that the Chandler High product has been working out four days a week with fellow Duck recruit Andre Yruretagoyena, and Johnstone has gained 25 lbs. of muscle, to 275.  He told Williams, ““My main weaknesses are my weight and strength. That’s what I’m trying to work on the most”.

The depth in Steve Greatwood’s line crew will give Johnstone time to develop if he needs it, but his highlight film shows excellent technique and great football habits:


Very mobile, agile and athletic, listed at 4.93 in the 40 and in the video that looks legit; at :47 inside running play he’s blocking 20 yards downfield.  He blocks from a real solid base, moves his feet.  runs really well for a lineman at 2:54.  3:08 keeps his hands inside, controls the defender with his shoulder pads and helmet 3:12 good leg drive and stays on his block. 3:42 just keeps hitting.    His high school uses some of the same double team and “bust block techniques the Ducks use; at 3:40 he comes off one block and transitions perfectly to another, even hitting a third guy before the play is over. 3:50 blocks at the second level, agile enough to seal off linebackers and safeties in the open field. 4:00 drives the defender right into the ground, great leverage, and the perfect amount of football nastiness, the kind that got him his first movie role.

Again at 4:05 on the double team, pushing his man 10 yards down the field and depositing him into the turf, the kind of lineman who understands it’s possible to play intimidating offense, taking the aggression to the opponent. 4:20 a hit and another, and the poise not to retaliate when the frustrated opponent takes a cheap shot at the end of the play, displays intelligence and discipline.  4:36 also a crisp accurate long snapper, 1st-team all-region.  4:48 strong enough and athletic enough to play left tackle.  stays on a block long enough to bust a big gain.  defender makes 3 moves but can’t get off the block. 4:58, 5:05 fires out and drives hard in short yardage situations, plays to the edge of the rules.  5:15 draw play,  drives his man completely out of the play, creates a huge lane for  5:50 versatile enough to play inside or out.  5:56 long snapper on the punt team; incredible to get a player talented enough to be both a promising lineman and fill this vital role on the roster; makes him doubly valuable and saves a second scholarship for an extra DT or athlete, perfect snap, then sheds three blocks to be first to the returner, smothers him for no gain–fumble!!! 6:35 good footwork, has the desire to get the last lick in. 6:42 when a pass rusher rushes wide, he maintains control and takes him out wider and out of the play.  6:47 oh man–at left tackle, pulling on the counter, blasts the linebacker, touchdown right off his hip. 7:05, gets out in front on the screen pass, chips one defender then comes off that block to stuff the player who had the best chance to stop the play. 7:10 sweep his side, drives his man off the ball and collapses  him, now there’s no contain and it goes for a big play. 7:25 pulling from left tackle: CRUNCH! Lifts the man off his feet and into the turf, backward. 7:53 you see the fierce edge again, knocking one guy down and going for a second one.  Plays with a lot of desire and hustle.  He’s an athlete, no docile, lazy, fat guy. 8:19 lined up on a big, thick guy, but he drives him from the 10 to the goal line, touchdown. 8:53 2009 State Championship game against Mesa, Hamilton wins 35-0 and Johnstone has more pancakes than an IHOP.  Oh yeah, these are his junior highlights. 9:35 and 9:41 two blocks on one play, twice.  A very hard worker on the field, a tremendous competitor as a lineman.

Senior Highlights:

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