Dontae Johnson was a three-star safety recruit coming out of Pennington Prep in New Jersey. Johnson committed to North Carolina State University. Johnson was a backup free safety in 2010 for the Wolfpack, seeing action in 13 games as a freshman. He played primarily as the nickel defender in 2011 and tallied 27 tackles with three sacks. Johnson moved to cornerback in 2012 where he recorded 70 tackles. He opened up at cornerback as a senior, but switched to free safety midway through the year. In 12 games, he totaled 81 tackles with three interceptions.