Fall Eligible JC Linebacker Favors Sun Devils

An early season-ending injury in his high school junior year derailed Charles Johnson's chances of signing with a major college program. Following a fine freshman season, it's a forgone conclusion that the Saddleback linebacker, a qualifier out of high school, will play for a D-I school this season. ASU is the latest program to offer him, yet according to Johnson is the leader for his services.

"Arizona State has been recruiting me just two weeks now," said the 6-2 234 Charles Johnson. "(ASU's Linebackers Coach/Defensive Coordinator) Coach Bray is recruiting me and I like him a lot. I really didn't know anything about the school before they contacted me. But everything I'm hearing about the program and the education is good, and they're expecting some big things to happen with that program."

"The coaches at ASU have a lot of experience and won a lot of games and that all sounds good to me. The fact that they're in the Pac-10 and close to home really interests me and that's why I'm looking into it more. I plan to visit them in early June, but I don't have an exact date yet."

Johnson indicated that the two schools that offered him before ASU, Mississippi (offered two months ago) and Washington State (a month ago) complete his top-three choices. Another Pac-10 school which was considered a legitimate suitor in the past has dropped out of the picture. "Cal contacted me before and they were one of my top schools, but they haven't been in contact with me for a while," he commented. "I'm not taking them into consideration…I haven't visited any of my top-three schools. ASU will be the first school I visit, and then I will visit the other two…I don't have any other schools that I'm looking at."

The linebacker prepped at El Toro HS located in Lake Forrest, Calif. He broke his leg the first game of his junior campaign, which naturally put a major damper on his recruiting prospects. By the time his senior year rolled by, he was getting interest only from Division II programs.

"I decided to go the Saddleback, and I did plan to play my sophomore year there," he explained. "I have nothing but love for the players and coaches there. They really helped me become a better player. Because I was a qualifier out of high school I don't have to get my AA degree to play Division I. I thought that if I stayed my sophomore year I would get more looks (from Division I programs). Now that I have three offers, and I have a chance to play at that level right away, I don't want to take a chance and get injured my sophomore year at Saddleback." He said that he's also anxious to prove to people that he was good enough to play at a major college program right out of high school.

In his freshman year at Saddleback Johnson finished the season with nine sacks, 89 tackles and a forced fumble. He played as a left outside linebacker, and didn't flop to the weak or strong side of the offense. He indicated that Mississippi likes him as a middle linebacker; Washington prefers him on the strong side, while the Sun Devils have pegged him on the weak side but that hasn't been engraved in stone yet.

"I think I'm an athletic and fast linebacker," he said of his skills. "My fastest 40 time is a 4.53 but lately I'm running a 4.6 flat, my vertical is 36-inch, and I bench press 225 pounds 23 times. I need to be better a student of the game and understand offenses and know what they're trying to do when they line up in a certain formation."

In an interview to JCFootball.com just eight days ago, the linebacker was unsure if he would forgo his sophomore season. He told Devils Digest today that the maroon and gold have changed that notion, and in a few weeks stand a good chance of landing him for the 2007 season.

"If I like what I see with ASU I will sign with them and not take the other trips," he claimed. "ASU is a pretty good deal and for me not to consider playing for them…I would be a fool. Coach Bray is a real honest guy and I really like him. With him – what you see is what you get. I really want to play in the Pac-10 and I rather go to ASU over Washington State."

Johnson noted that whatever school he chose, he wouldn't be arriving before July. Since he didn't use a redshirt year at Saddleback, he has four years to play three seasons at the Division I level.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories