The nation’s best high school punter – already named a U.S. Army All-American – will be on hand for Arkansas’ Elite Camp on Thursday and hopes to leave with a parting gift.
Los Alamitos, Calif., standout Blake Johnson (6-1, 190) already has three offers – Colorado, Duke and Oregon State - and is visiting the Razorbacks and LSU this week hoping to add a couple more.
“I am really looking forward to visiting Arkansas,” Johnson said. “It’s in a great location and a great area and it’s in the SEC. I want to play in the SEC because it’s the best college football has to offer and I know Arkansas has a need for a punter next season.”
Indeed Arkansas has a senior punter in Sam Irwin Hill, but is known to be looking for his replacement in the 2015 recruiting class.
“I know that they are going to need someone and I am hoping that when I get there on Thursday and show what I can do that Arkansas will go ahead and offer,” Johnson said. “I would really like to play in the SEC so I’m hoping Arkansas or LSU will give me that chance.”
Johnson recently was honored with his U.S. Army All-American Game jersey for the game that will be played Jan. 3, 2015 in San Antonio.
He’ll be on the West team and earned the honor by winning the Top Gun competition last week in Dublin, Ohio.
“That was really exciting,” Johnson said. “I won the spot at the Top Gun camp in Ohio and it’s just an awesome feeling to know that I am going to be in the game. My coach told me I am only the second player ever from our school to make the game so it is a big honor.”
Johnson averaged 39.5 net punting yards last season with 15 of his 48 punts being downed inside the 20-yard line.
He had a long boot of 54 yards last season while he got off a 70-yarder as a sophomore.
“I think my biggest strengths are how strong my leg is and how quickly I get off my punts,” Johnson said.
He is ranked as the No. 1 punting prospect nationally by kicking coach Chris Sailer.
“Blake is simply an outstanding punter,” Sailer writes in an assessment on his website. “A great athlete with all the tools. Has a great punting frame and strong leg. Punts for excellent distance, hang time and direction. Does his best under pressure. A fine young man with a great attitude and work ethic. Has a bright future at the college level. Big time prospect."
Johnson has nice things to say about Sailer as well.
“Chris is a kicking guru and has helped me so much in terms of technique, getting my name out there and helping me with the recruiting process,” Johnson said. “I can’t say enough about how much he has helped me on and off the field.”
Johnson also had Texas high on his list, but it doesn’t appear as if that is going to be an option because of his timetable.
“I certainly like Texas, but I went down there and they are not planning on making a decision on who they want to offer until the middle of the season,” Johnson said. “So I don’t think that is going to be an option for me because I would like to have things taken care of before the end of July.
“I want to do that because I want to have all the stress of recruiting out of the way and just be able to concentrate on my senior season.”
Blake Johnson and kicking coach Chris Sailer
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