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Top 60 Countdown: No. 54, OL Jermaine Johnson

Time to move on in the countdown of the Top 60 players at The U with a look at No. 54: Offensive lineman Jermaine Johnson, who will be competing for playing time at tackle this coming season.

Jermaine Johnson > What we heard about him on Signing Day '09: Johnson developed into one of the top-rated prep school offensive linemen in the country at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia. Not bad for a kid who played football just one season at St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale after three in basketball. Johnson originally signed with Auburn before heading to prep school.

> What he's done as a Cane: Started the spring at right tackle behind Matt Pipho before moving to the left side behind Jason Fox. He worked with offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland and strength coach Andreu Swasey and made some improvements. He's already improved his strength numbers in the weight room. His squat went up from 375 to 425 (updated, misprint), his bench from 315 to 355 and his power clean from 315 to 365. 

> What Eye On The U expects from him in '09: Stoutland has high expectations for Johnson and expects him to be in his rotation at tackle behind Fox and Pipho. Miami certainly needs a big year from Johnson, who at 6-6, 302 pounds has to at the very least be a contributor. Last year, UM had a solid rotation going with Fox, Chris Rutledge and Reggie Youngblood. Only Fox is back. More importantly, though, Johnson has to grow up quickly. UM is counting on him to be their left tackle of the future. If it isn't him, the Canes could be forced to scramble through the JUCO ranks or continue to play patchwork with overachieving veterans. My guess is Johnson is raw and talented enough to develop into that nasty guy -- along with Brandon Washington -- once Fox leaves.