Sep 15, 2012; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers linebacker A.J. Johnson (45) tackles Florida Gators tight end Omarius Hines (20) during the second half at Neyland Stadium. Florida won by a score of 37 to 20. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-US PRESSWIRE
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- One year after cracking Tennessee's starting lineup as a freshman, linebacker A.J. Johnson is emerging as a playmaker on both sides of the ball.
Johnson produced one of the best performances of his young career Saturday by delivering 11 tackles in a 37-20 loss to Florida while also making his collegiate debut on offense. As a quarterback in Tennessee's Wildcat formation, Johnson ran for 5 yards on two carries, including a 1-yard touchdown.
Johnson made a strong case that he deserves more opportunities on offense, but he remains of the Vols' most important defensive players. Now that safety Brian Randolph has torn his anterior cruciate ligament, Johnson and safety Byron Moore are the Vols' top two remaining tacklers with 20 stops each heading into Saturday's game against Akron.