COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The unquestioned leader of the SEC’s best defense in 2020, Texas A&M senior Buddy Johnson was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 35th pick in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday evening.
“Buddy is a great example of a young man coming into a program and developing into an outstanding football player,: Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “A former quarterback in high school, he made the switch to defense and worked hard to become a top linebacker and playmaker in the SEC. He was the quarterback of our defense and kept everyone on the same page and always seemed to come up with a big play when we needed it.”
Johnson, from Dallas, Texas, was a Butkus Award semifinalist in 2020 after captaining the unit that led the SEC in total defense and ranked second in the league in passing and rushing defense. He paced the Aggies in tackles in each of the past two seasons as he crossed the 200-tackle mark for his career in the 2020 regular season finale at Tennessee.
The linebacker showed a penchant for making game-altering plays, against LSU he snagged an errant pass and scampered 15 yards to the end zone that effectively sealed the victory for the Aggies. The defensive touchdown was the second of Johnson's career, a season ago the Dallas native returned a fumble 62 yards to help secure a close win at Ole Miss. Against then No. 4 Florida, the linebacker forced a fumble with less than four minutes to play, allowing the Aggies to kick a game-winning field goal as time expired.
In addition to leading the team in tackles last season, Johnson also recorded a team-best 8.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles, while his 4.0 sacks were good for second on the team. In his time in Aggieland, he appeared in 47 games racking up 32 starts including the final 24 games of his career.