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Coach's Corner with VA Unity HC Josh Johnson : Destiny Harris, Jayden Heavener and Rylie Johnson

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Vigirnia Unity Head Coach Josh Johnson and discuss two 2024 LSU Softball signees in (OF) Destiny Harris and (LHP) Jayden Heavener and 2025 LSU Softball commitment (OF) Rylie Johnson. Josh runs the 60+ team Unity Softball Orginization and has had the privilege of coaching all three of these uber talented players and mentoring his daughter Rylie. Josh gave me his thoughts on each of the girls in this article.

We started with Jayden Heavener a 2024 signee and someone I am super high on as I feel she is someone I feel can elevate the program back to where it was when they were repeadetly plating in the WCWS and even be a national championship program. Statistically speaking Heavener matches up with the best of the best that LSU softball has ever brought in. I asked Josh what makes Jayden so special and he said "WOW. Her ball really just breaks. She's good and then from just a competitive standpoint,she's got a desire to be great. She's super competitive. She wants the ball, she wants to have a chance to hit and she's got some juice." Johnson added "She actually has a hell of an arm overhand too, she can throw it. She started off wanting to be a catcher and then kind of got into the pitching thing and kind of went from there when she was little. She's a game changer, there's no doubt about it." He added " just from speaking with Beth, even before we had Jayden, Beth never really had a lefty starter like that. So Jaydens her first lefty and she picked a good one to go after the last couple of years and follow, make that relationship." Adding to the impact Jayden has on LSU he said "obviously. she's a good reason why we're going there as well, and I'm sure she's a good reason why Destiny is going there. As a position player, you're looking to see which pitching is being brought in, so you can surround yourself and have an opportunity to win."

"This summer on my team she threw 102 innings and struck out 226 and that's against some of the best kids in the country because our schedule was no joke. She gave up 21 runs in 102 innings with 226 strikeouts. That's crazy. 65 of them looking. She's good, this is the best kids in the country. Mind you our schedule literally is one of the best, if not the best 16 schedule in the country this past year." - Johnson on Heavener

Story on Jayden : " She came to play with us in 2022 but we played against her for her whole travel ball career. she's a lefty, power pitcher, but with good spin, she's kind of effectively wild in a lot of ways. Her ball just doesn't stay straight. She throws up, she throws it and it moves. There's been several times where literally she's thrown a curveball inside to a righty and the kid swung and missed and it's hit the kid in the chest and she still swung and miss it. So she gets struck out and hit the chest at the same time. It's crazy."

Destiny Harris is also a 2024 Signee and super talented. When I interviewed Rylie Josh's daughter and a 2025 commit she commented on Destiny and said "She has the best athleticism I have ever seen. Destiny has came up in every big time and clutch situation." Josh confirmed she has the clutch gene adding Destiny is a kid that can bunt it or hit a home run on any pitch. It's especially crazy because she does it from the right hand of batter's box. So to be able to bunt and still be on the level that we're playing at, it is pretty impressive. On her clutch gene " And then she does have that knack for the bottom of the seventh heroics. When we won our first national championship in the semi final game, we are down one with two strikes. We had a runner on first base and Destiny hits the ball in the gap in left center. And so it's easily a double. Well, the kid that fielded the ball in center field tried to throw to second base. So Destiny kept going to third base and then the kid kind of threw it to third base and she kind of bobbled it. Destiny decided to keep on going and scored basically a little league in the park home run, on two errors to walk off in the semi finals of the national championship against a Georgia impact team. It was crazy. He added on Destiny's power " I mean, I've seen her hit. grown woman, I mean, grown man balls like she'll hit them 300 ft and I'm not exaggerating like I've seen her hit some absolute monsters home runs. there's gonna be some balls hit at LSU that people gonna remember Destiny's name when she hits them."

"she can fly and she's got a good build. She's probably 5'5" 145 pounds of pure athleticism." - Johnson on Harris

Then there is the most recent LSU commit and she is one that Johnson has had a front row seat to as he has mentored his daughter as well as coached her for her entire career in softball and life. If you read my commitment piece on Rylie Johnson you will remember how blown away I was with her stats. I discussed this with Josh and he said "I have the pleasure of, of coaching the high school team as well and it was borderline comical. If she didn't hit a home run, you thought it was a bad at bat. It was crazy." He added "Remember, I've coached this kid her whole life. I mean, this is my, this is my flesh and blood. It was weird. She really blew up this past year as far as the power number. She's always been a great batting average kid and on base percentage. Kid steals a base plays great defense, always in the right spot, gonna hustle and play small ball game like she can do all those things. What led to the big gains in power " last March, I purchased an indoor facility with,a business partner of mine, Jeff Petty who owns Cannes Baseball, which is probably , the premier baseball organization in the country. We started an indoor sports performance facility and they hired two strength coaches, that were both females. One was at IMG and one was a strength coach for the Baltimore Orioles. and Riley has just fell in love with the weight room. I mean, I the weight room has changed that kid's life and. numbers have just reflected it like it's just crazy. "

"And we were up and she got, she got intentionally walked with the bases loaded in, in the state semi finals in Virginia." - Johnson On Rylie

He added on Rylie "it's just wild. now on the travel ball scene. She was second on our team this year in batting average. First place is a 2024 that's going to Texas A&M. Rylie hit at .434 with an on base of 511, 4 home runs, which is third on our team. But you're talking about 40 games where you're facing the best pitchers in the country too."

An interesting note I will leave you with is that Johnson coaches another Unity squad that has two 2026 prospects in Dekya Harris and Haylie Johnson . Both are the younger sisters of Destiny and Rylie.



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