Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas, USC
Henry Aaron, Satchel Paige, Willie McCovey, and Ozzie Smith were all born in Mobile, Alabama, which already makes me a huge fan of defensive end Ryan Johnson, but when you consider that this son of Alabama turned down scholarship offers from both Auburn and the Crimson Tide to come across the country to Stanford, it just gets even better. You could argue that Johnson is one of the most important members of this signing class. There was a heavy offensive tilt to Card Class 17, but Johnson's commitment gives Stanford an impact player on the defensive side of the ball. His most recent highlight reel is from his junior season (below) he was lighter, but he still shows the athleticism and strength necessary to excel as a pass rushing defensive end in Stanford's 3-4 scheme. It should also be noted that Johnson, along with fellow Stanford recruit Connor Wedington, is one of six finalists for the Watkins Award, given annually to the top high school African-American football player in America. Stanford recruits Frank Buncom IV and Bobby Okereke won the award the previous two seasons.
With the success of Solomon Thomas this season and the expectations for redshirt freshman Mike Williams, Stanford could be building some tradition at defensive line. Johnson has drawn comparisons to Thomas, and by the time he finds his way to the field in 2018 or '19, he'll likely resemble the departing Morris Trophy winner at least in stature. The guess here is that he develops into one of the better lineman in the conference before his time on the Farm is done.