There's No Place Like Home for Johnson

Mesa High School standout Keelan Johnson verbaled to Sun Devils on Friday evening, making him the 26th commit in the 2008 recruiting class. He talked to Devils Digest about his reasons for de-committing from Nebraska and wanting to play his college ball for the hometown school. Some of the answers to our questions may surprise you…

Devils Digest: Keelan, congratulations on being a Sun Devil. How does it feel to have all the recruiting process behind you?

Keelan Johnson: "It feels good to have it over with. Both Arizona State and Nebraska are great schools and have great football programs. It just came down to staying close to home. It wasn't like I thought one program was better than the other."

Devils Digest: As you started the recruiting process, did you feel that that you were definitely going to play out of state, whether it would be Nebraska or anywhere else?

Keelan Johnson: "I didn't see myself leaving the state, but I did myself going to Nebraska – if that makes sense. A lot of family, as recruiting went on, didn't want me to leave the state."

Devils Digest: Did your family play a big decision in you committing to ASU?

Keelan Johnson: "My uncle, Brent Green, was the only family member I really talked about recruiting. He had the biggest influence on me.

Devils Digest: It's been over a month since you visited ASU. Does the fact that it took you this long to change your commitment mean how much you struggled with your decision?

Keelan Johnson: "I did think a lot of about my commitment. I know Nebraska is a good program and they will re-establish their tradition. It really just came down to being close to home."

Devils Digest: Did the change Nebraska had at head coach play a big role in your de-commitment or how you perceived that program?

Keelan Johnson: "It really didn't matter. The players last year didn't respect Coach Callahan a lot and they respect the new head coach more. But the whole coaching change really didn't have an impact at all on me."

Devils Digest: Was part of your commitment to Nebraska in the summer having several players from Arizona on their roster?

Keelan Johnson: "I think part of the reason I committed to Nebraska was having those payers from Arizona. I was friends with a few of them."

Devils Digest: Wanting to stay close to home is one thing, but seeing ASU win ten games in Coach Erickson's first season also help in your decision?

Keelan Johnson: "Not really. The record didn't matter to me. At the beginning of my recruiting I wanted to go to U of A and they're not a very good program. They're striving to get better as a program. But even though the record doesn't matter it does help that ASU is one of the best programs in the Pac-10 and they're only gonna get better."

Devils Digest: There has been a lot of talk about which position you will play at ASU. Where do you think you'll line up when fall camp starts?

Keelan Johnson: "I think I'm gonna be at wide receiver because Coach Yarber wants to see me there. I'll probably rotate between that and running back. I guess I prefer to play offense over defense but I don't mind playing corner or safety if needed. Whatever needs to be done, I'm the type of player that will do it."

Devils Digest: You play a big role on your basketball team. Do you think basketball has helped your football skills or vice versa?

Keelan Johnson: "Basketball teaches you how to run with tired legs and that definitely helps you in football. It builds a lot of muscle in your legs. People don't realize how physical you have to be in basketball, and football obviously helps you be physical. Football also helps you mentally a lot and basketball is a very mental game too."

Devils Digest: When you arrive at ASU, do you see yourself playing right away or redshirting so you can adjust to the game and just to college in general?

Keelan Johnson: "I see myself on the field early. I know I'm a good football payer and I don't want to redshirt and waste a year sitting and watching. I wanna be on the field playing."

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