Son of former UK football great is making a name for himself in hoops

Published 5:54 pm Thursday, June 23, 2022

A rising sophomore to keep an eye on in Kentucky is Jasper Johnson of Woodford County, the son of Woodford coach Dennis Johnson — a former all-SEC defensive end at Kentucky.

He has a chance to be Woodford’s starting quarterback this season and also is a talented defensive back.

“He can throw the ball and do some other good things,” coach Johnson said.

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But he is an even better basketball player. He averaged 13.8 points and 2.5 rebounds per game as a freshman when he shot 51 percent from the field and 45 percent (71 of 158) from 3-point range.

The left-handed shooter has the tools and skill set that have impressed national recruiting analysts in recent months. At the recent Crossroads Elite in Plainfield, Ind., he caught the eye of Eric Bossi, national basketball director for 247Sports.

“A thin guard from Kentucky, Johnson showed flashes of turning into a pretty high level player long term. He can set himself up off the dribble, take and make deep jumpers and he’s sneaky explosive when getting to the rim,” Bossi wrote.

“His body is thin right now, but he’s got all kinds of length and surely some growing left to do. He’s already 6-foot-2 or so but with a few more inches of height and added strength he could emerge as a player to reckon with in his class.”

Jasper’s father was a three-sport high school standout and his grandfather, Alvis Johnson, was a successful high school football and track coach. However, Dennis Johnson is not blind about what his son’s best sport/college option might be.

“If he grows two more inches, he might just stay with basketball because of what it takes now to be an elite prospect,” Dennis Johnson said. “Even my dad says that, so we will just see what happens.”