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Johnathan Joseph

Height: 5-11 | Weight: 193 | College: South Carolina
 
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Overview

One of the fastest athletes to ever wear a Gamecocks uniform, Joseph is also becoming one of the fast-rising draft prospects based on his postseason performances.

In just two seasons at South Carolina, Joseph established himself as a natural playmaker with excellent ball-hawking skills.

Joseph earned All-State honors in football and All-Region honors in both football and track at Northwestern High School. He recorded 127 tackles with seven interceptions, returning four for touchdowns as a senior. He also played in the Shrine Bowl.

Joseph spent the 2003 season at Coffeyville College, playing football for head coach Jeff Leiker. He was rated the No. 31 junior college player in the nation by College Football News and earned All-Conference honors as a cornerback. He recorded 43 tackles with a sack and two pass deflections and also had three interceptions for 62 yards and a touchdown.

Heavily recruited by the major schools, Joseph chose South Carolina over Florida in 2004. He started the team's first two games that season, but suffered a broken bone in his foot vs. Georgia. He missed the rest of the season after undergoing surgery, finishing with three solo tackles and a pass deflection.

Joseph returned to start at strong-side cornerback in 2005. He ranked sixth on the team with 55 tackles (40 solos), including 3.5 stops for losses. He deflected nine passes and intercepted four others for 76 yards in returns with a touchdown. He added 141 yards on six kickoff returns (23.5 avg) and also gained 2 yards on a punt return. He finished his South Carolina career with 58 tackles (43 solos) in fourteen games.

Analysis

Positives: Has a muscular, athletic build with developed arms and upper body, trimmed lower body definition and good bubble and hamstrings … Shows quick footwork and agility in his running stride … Plays with nice effort and toughness, putting the extra hours in after practice to improve his backpedal technique … Plays mostly on instincts, but has the speed to recover when beaten … Able to lock on to and cover any receiver in isolated coverage due to his acceleration and burst … Shows good hip turn to trail and is very effective at mirroring in the short area … Very smooth and balanced coming out of his backpedal, and no longer displays the slight hesitation in transition that he showed earlier in his junior season … Has a feel for the receiver with the ball in front of him … Has the plant and drive agility to come out of transition cleanly … Can cover ground in a hurry due to his above average acceleration … Has the body control to adjust on the move and times his leaps to go up and compete for the ball down field … Natural hands catcher who can also be an effective kickoff returner … Decent open-field tackler with enough strength to generate pop on contact.

Negatives: Has good instincts, but lacks the experience and feel to anticipate and recognize routes yet (showed improvement as the season progressed) … Has also improved his backpedal, but when hurried he will open up after taking only a few steps … Does not seem to relish the idea of sticking his head into the action in run support and needs to improve his hand placement in attempts to play off blocks (lacks leverage) … Can play out of control in attempts to break down in the open, jumping routes often while taking big chances to make plays on the ball rather than attack the receiver … Better in man coverage, as he does not show that he is comfortable handling the switch-off or getting a jump on the play when operating in the zone.

Joseph is a naturally gifted athlete with exceptional quickness and range. He plays mostly on instincts due to a lack of repetitions, and this gets him into trouble often as he will jump the ball and gamble to make the play. He is quick coming out of his breaks and has the recovery burst needed to excel in man coverage, but lacks a feel for playing in the zone. He needs to improve his angles when driving to the receiver, but shows a solid cross-over running stride to close ground.

What allows him to recover when he gets out of control is his ability to change direction and suddenly get back into the play. He does a good job of leaning on the receiver and looking back on the ball playing the deep routes. He needs to be quicker making decisions in run support, as he looks hesitant to get involved in the action around the line of scrimmage.

Joseph needs to use his hands better when trying to shed blocks and while he is a decent tackler with adequate strength, he is not the type who will blow up behind his hits. He is prone to missing a few tackles in the open when he tries to take a side and arm tackle rather than wrapping to secure. He also seems to duck his head when trying to deliver the tackle.

Joseph might be better served as a press cornerback, where he can best utilize his speed to run with and mirror the receiver. He has made good strides in his backpedal and has the ball skills to get under and time his leaps vs. the ball in flight. His hips show an easy turning motion when trying to get deep.

With his quick feet and natural hands, Joseph could bring instant value in the nickel package. He needs to work on improving the angles he takes to get to the ball and still lacks the ability to recognize routes, making him a work in progress (see 2005 Central Florida and Florida games). However, with his athletic ability and work ethic, he is certainly worth a look after the first round.

Career Notes

Has only fourteen games of major college experience and appeared in 25 total contests …

For his entire collegiate career, Joseph recorded 101 tackles with twelve pass deflections and seven interceptions.

2005 Season

Super Sleeper Team pick by The NFL Draft Report … Recipient of the team's Outstanding Defensive Back Award … Lined up at strong-side cornerback, ranking sixth on the team with 55 tackles (40 solos) … Added 3.5 stops for losses of 9 yards … Deflected nine passes and intercepted four others for 76 yards in returns, including a touchdown … Gained 141 yards on six kickoff returns (23.5 avg) and 2 yards on a punt return.

2005 Game Analysis

Central Florida … Opened the season with twelve tackles (6 solos), but fumbled a punt return at the start of the fourth quarter that was recovered by UCF's Ron Ellis at the SC 17, setting up a 13-yard touchdown pass from Knights QB Steven Moffett to Mike Walker …

Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Brandon Marshall-Ten catches for 102 yards.

Georgia … Made two solo tackles, including one that stopped QB D.J. Shockley for a 4-yard loss on a first quarter option play … Intercepted a second quarter pass thrown by Shockley at the UGA 42, returning it 42 yards for a touchdown … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Sean Bailey-No catches.

Alabama … Produced three solo tackles, including one that stopped QB Brodie Croyle after a second quarter third-and-7 run netted 14 yards … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Smokey Hampton-Two catches for 35 yards.

Troy … Posted two solo tackles, preventing a possible touchdown when he took down Anthony Jones on a third-and-15 fourth quarter run that gained 21 yards … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR D.J. Hall-Three catches for 41 yards.

Auburn … Added four assisted tackles, teaming with defensive end Jordin Lindsay to stop Carl Stewart for a 1-yard loss on a third-and-3 run around left end in the fourth quarter … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Devin Aromashodu-Two catches for 40 yards.

Kentucky … Did not start and had only one pass deflection in reserve duty.

Vanderbilt … Returned to the starting lineup with eight tackles (6 solos), two pass break-ups, an interception and a 26-yard kickoff return … Intercepted a third-and-22 pass thrown by Jay Cutler at the start of the fourth quarter, returning the ball 32 yards to set up a 10-yard touchdown run by SC's Syvelle Newton … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Marlon White-No catches.

Tennessee … Registered five solo tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage, deflected one pass and intercepted another … Picked off a Rick Clausen passs midway through the first quarter to set up QB Blake Mitchell's 19-yard scoring strike to Sidney Rice … Tackled C.J. Fayton for a 3-yard loss on a late first quarter screen pass thrown by Vols QB Erik Ainge … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Jayson Swain-Two catches for 19 yards.

Arkansas … Was in on three solo tackles, including one for a loss … Deflected two passes and had a 21-yard kickoff return … Forced the Razorbacks to punt at the start of the second quarter after tackling Darren McFadden for a 2-yard loss on a toss from QB Casey Dick … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Marcus Monk-One catch for 19 yards.

Florida … Came up with six solo tackles and a 28-yard kickoff return, but was beaten by receiver Chad Jackson on a 31-yard touchdown pass from QB Chris Leak that capped a 9-play, 89-yard drive in the second quarter … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Chad Jackson-Ten catches for 104 yards and a touchdown.

Clemson … Followed with five tackles (4 solos), an interception, a pass deflection and a 16-yard kickoff return … Picked off a Charles Whitehurst pass for a 1-yard return at the end of the first quarter … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Chansi Stuckey-Four catches for 26 yards.

Missouri (Independence Bowl) … Closed out his career with five solo tackles and two pass deflections, including one that knocked down a third-and-5 pass by QB Brad Smith late in the first quarter … Also had two kickoff returns for 50 yards … Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Brad Ekwerekwu-Three catches for 29 yards.

2004 Season

Started the team's first two games at South Carolina, but had his season cut short after breaking his foot in the first quarter of the Georgia contest … Underwent surgery, spending the remainder of the year rehabilitating from his injury … In the two games he appeared in, he made three total tackles - two in the season opener vs. Vanderbilt and one vs. Georgia in the second game of the year … Forced a fumble vs. Vanderbilt and also broke up a pass vs. the Commodores.

Injury Report

2004: Suffered a fractured foot vs. Georgia (9/11), undergoing surgery that forced him to miss the final nine games.

Agility Tests

Combine: 4.32 in the 40-yard dash … 2.53 20-yard dash … 1.52 10-yard dash … Bench presses 225 pounds 15 times … 37-inch vertical jump … 10'3" broad jump … 4.23 20-yard shuttle … 11.23 60-yard shuttle … 6.92 three-cone drill … 31-inch arm length … 9 5/8-inch hands.

Junior College

Joseph spent the 2003 season at Coffeyville College, playing football for head coach Jeff Leiker … Rated the 31st-best junior college player in the nation by College Football News and earned All-Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference honors as a cornerback … Recorded 43 tackles with a sack and two pass deflection and also had three interceptions for 62 yards and a touch-down.

High School

Attended Northwestern (Rock Hill, S.C.) High School … Earned All-State honors in football and All-Region honors in both football and track … Recorded 127 tackles with seven interceptions, returning four for touchdowns as a senior … Also played in the Shrine Bowl.

Personal

Criminal Justice major … Born 4/16/84 … Resides in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

 
 
 

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