'It really opened my eyes'

Alabama kicked off its spring football practices on Saturday with plenty of story lines surrounding the 2014 squad. But plenty of 2015 prospects were in town to see it. The headliner was in-state standout Kerryon Johnson who learned of potentially big news for Alabama's chances of landing him.

It's no secret that Kerryon Johnson has had a top three of Alabama, Auburn and Florida State, though his decision time table is rapidly approaching.

The Madison (Ala.) Academy two-way star is likely to visit each of the three programs before selecting one to continue his football career at.

Alabama was first up for the four-star, as he took in the program's first spring practice on Saturday.

"They had a good practice though, Derrick Henry is a big man," Johnson said laughing. "He can really move for his size. And of course (Kenyan) Drake is really explosive."

The reason the 6-foot, 180-pound athlete focused on the running back position Saturday was because new Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin detailed a bit of a change to Alabama's recruiting plan for him.

Nick Saban the number two prospect in the state primarily as a defensive back.

"I'm definitely feeling running back now, especially with Kiffin as the offensive coordinator," Johnson said. "We talked a lot about the offense that he is going to put in and how I could be used in it.

"He went over some formations that he ran with Reggie Bush as running back. Then splitting out and creating mismatches."

Kiffin sees some similarities between the junior and the former Heisman Trophy winner.

"He did (compare me to Reggie Bush)," Johnson said. "I thought of it as a great honor but also an accurate comparison! We both have the ability to run and catch the ball and also make plays in space."

While Johnson hasn't named favorites among his trio of contenders, he has admitted that running back is his position of choice. The news he received in Tuscaloosa, certainly doesn't hurt the Tide's chances.

"It really opened my eyes to see how I could be used and such," he said. "So it definitely helped them."

Johnson does plan on visiting both Auburn and Tallahassee in the near future, though dates have not been locked in. However, a commitment is still expected "before the summer," he said of his timetable.

Scout.com currently pegs Johnson as America's number four running back prospect in the class of 2015.

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