Gainesville, Ga., linebacker and Tennessee commit A.J. Johnson has always had some sort of interest in Florida. He came away from last July’s Friday Night Lights camp with the Gators leading for his services and seemed ready to commit if given the chance.

However, Johnson, who was originally committed to Tennessee, decided to go with the Volunteers in mid-September. Monday, Johnson said he’s still a “strong” verbal to UT, but is happy to see that new Florida coach Will Muschamp retained linebackers coach D.J. Durkin.

“I’m still the same with Tennessee, but Coach Durkin was the big reason I was liking Florida so much,” Johnson said.

Even after committing to Tennessee, Johnson made it back to Gainesville to check out a game. Johnson was recruited by Florida’s previous staff as more of a defensive end.

Johnson hasn’t spoken with Muschamp and isn’t sure if he’ll visit Florida before National Signing Day, but as a defensive guy, he likes the Muschamp hire.

“It helps a lot with the team because you gotta have defense and you have a defensive coach,” he said. “I know the defense will be stronger.”