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Idaho Football

Idaho linebacker Zach Johnson has standout spring camp

Idaho’s Zach Johnson had a standout spring camp, especially as a pass rusher, where he had 2.5 sacks.  (Courtesy of Idaho Athletics)
By Trevan Pixley Lewiston Tribune

MOSCOW, Idaho – Nobody raised their stock this spring like Idaho redshirt freshman linebacker Zach Johnson.

The Lake City High School product received high praise from UI football coach Jason Eck dating back to last season as a special teams player.

The April 26 spring game was his coming-of-age party.

Johnson tallied 2.5 sacks and emerged as one of the team’s best pass rushers during spring practices.

“We’ve been playing him more at linebacker,” Eck said. “But we’ve been getting him over to rush the passer, like in one-on-one pass rush and third-down situations. He just has a natural knack for rushing the passer. That’s tough to teach.”

Johnson didn’t rush the passer much as a member of the Timberwolves, either. He was mainly a linebacker and a tight end. But Eck intends to put the freshman on the field in any way that he can.

“To get a great pass rusher at this level, you almost need someone who didn’t do it in high school,” Eck said. “If you show you’re a great pass rusher on your high school film, you’re going to get recruited by big places. I think we got to keep using him and find ways to get our best guys on the field.”

Switching Johnson to edge, or just putting him on the field in pass-rushing situations will add to an already dangerous Idaho front.