Basehor TE Ready to Get to Work in 2013
Ben Johnson already knows his role with the Kansas Jayhawks. "I knew exactly what they wanted me to do from Day 1," he says, smiling. "They told me to watch New England and watch Rob Gronkowski and how they run their plays. That's going to be me." Johnson is a 6-foot-6, 225-pound senior at Basehor-Linwood (KS) High School, and he's built similarly to the Patriots All-Pro. Gronk was 6-foot-6, 250-pounds as a four-star TE from Pittsburgh. Johnson runs a 4.7 forty-yard dash, while Gronk ran a 4.65. The similarities aren't lost on Kansas Head Coach Charlie Weis. "They told me I'm the only tight end in this class, and that when I get there, it's time to work," Johnson says. "When they called, I let them know I'm their guy." In February, Johnson became the first prospect to commit to the Jayhawks for 2013. Despite KU's 1-11 record this season, Johnson hasn't wavered in his commitment and neither have Weis and his staff. The three-star TE is still the only tight end holding a Kansas offer. "With Jake Heaps being there, they are going to be able to work the ball a lot to different parts of the field," Johnson says of the former five-star transfer from BYU. "That's going to give me some options. You don't want to be just a blocking tight end, you want to be a receiver and get some looks." He sits back, thinking about next season. "I'm just ready to get there and work my way up the ranks." Johnson is used to seeing the ball coming his way. Over the past two seasons, he hauled in 98 receptions for 1,552 yards and 17 TDs in the Bobcats offense, earning all-state honors in 2012. "My coach always told the quarterbacks to throw it up and let me go get it," he says. "We'd try to spread it out, put me in motion to get me open looks. I'm grateful to have that kind of high school coach, not the traditional power running games like we see in Kansas." As Tuesday's junior college signing day came and went, Kansas finalized one of the most impressive hauls of any program in the country. As Marquel Combs led the charge for DreamTeam2013, Johnson took notice. "Everybody wants to be that class to make that big jump," Johnson says. "This year's senior class started it, and it's up to us to continue it. With hard work and faith, anything is possible."