Johnson bringing speed

Arizona signee T.J. Johnson recently broke a county record on the track. Read on to find out how he plans on bringing his speed to the football field and more.

It is no secret that Arizona Head Coach Rich Rodriguez likes speed on his football team.

In his first year in the desert, he knew his team would lack the speed that he wanted, so he went out and recruited some.

Cape Coral (Fla.) Island Coast wide receiver T.J. Johnson is as fast as they come. The speedy player signed with the Wildcats in February and then proceeded to lead his track team to the State Finals, even breaking a school record in the process.

"I just got done with track about a week ago," Johnson said. "So, I just started lifting weights and trying to put on some muscle. I finished third in state for the 100-meter dash and I broke the county record and my school record. I ran it in 10.4 seconds. I also finished fourth in the 200-meter in state."

Towards the end of the track season, Johnson knew that it was time for him to get focused on football. The high school senior gathered up a few of his friends and started hitting the weight room.

"I've been lifting weights and been working out with my teammates and my friends in the last few weeks," he said. "I'm doing the workout book the coaches sent me and just trying to put on some weight before I get down there."

Johnson is all prepared to head to Tucson. He talks to the Arizona coaches weekly and has submitted all of his paperwork to the school and the NCAA. It was a process that was long and drawn out, but Johnson was helped through it by the coaches.

"I still talk to the coaches about once a week," he said. "We mostly talk about how things are going with my family and the paperwork that was required to send in. They like to keep tabs on me and see how I'm doing and it's always nice to talk to them."

He is scheduled to be on campus June 23rd for the start of his summer session, but Johnson isn't too worried about that just yet. He wants to cherish the last few weeks he has with his friends and family in Florida.

"Over the next few weeks I would like to get in shape and have fun with my friends and family before I leave," Johnson said. "I'd like to spend some time with them because I'm leaving soon and I won't have a chance to see some of them for a while."

Once he gets to campus, the receiver wants to contribute anyway he can. Johnson said he is open to returning kicks and playing any position that is needed of him in his first year.

"I'm an athlete and I can get the ball anywhere on the field," he said. "If they need someone to return kicks, I'll try it and anything else they need. I just want to help the team out in any way that I can. "

Eventually, Johnson hopes to be used as a big play threat, similar to plenty of other speedy receivers in the country. He has even been told that he could be used like one of the Pac-12's biggest weapons, DeAnthony Thomas.

"The coaches want to use me as a slot receiver and a running back," Johnson said. "They want me to be kind of like De'Anthony Thomas at Oregon and Tavon Austin at West Virginia. They think I can be all over the field like the both of them."

There will be a transitional phase for the receiver, but it may not be very long. Johnson ran a similar system in high school and hopes that it will help him adapt to the college game faster than normal.

"In high school, we ran the spread offense as well," he said. "We had a lot of speed and ran no-huddle most of the time. Everything was fast paced and we tried to get as many plays off as possible. We liked to get the ball out and go."

Once he gets on campus, Johnson doesn't want to think about getting homesick. He doesn't think it will be an issue because he plans on having a new family with his new team.

"One thing I'm really looking forward to is meeting the team and starting to bond with them. They are going to be my family for the next couple of years.

"I'm going down there to get a good education and playing the sport I love with people I like is an added bonus. "


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