Selma, Ala.--Off to a strong start as a senior following an impressive junior season, Southside High School’s De'Quan Johnson is a talented but under-the-radar prospect.
His coach, Daniel Flowers, notes that it is puzzling that Johnson hasn’t received more attention from college coaches. “I guess it is because we haven’t been winning the last couple of years and nobody has seen him,” he said.
Asked if he believes that Johnson is a legitimate high-level Division I prospect, Flowers said, “Oh, yes. I coached at Alabama State and I wouldn’t recommend him to go to a school like that. I think he can play at a higher level.
“He has elite speed and he is a hard worker in the weight room,” Flowers said. “He had 210 yards and three touchdowns against Selma High, which is a 6A school.”
As a junior Johnson scored 23 touchdowns and gained 1,875 yards as a receiver, the coach said. With Southside off to its first 3-0 start since 2002, Johnson has scored seven touchdowns and has been a standout on defense as well as on special teams as a returner.
Flowers notes that a few colleges are starting to show interest, including Auburn, which invited Johnson in for an unofficial visit to last Saturday’s game vs. Arkansas State. Johnson also noted that Clemson, where Johnson attended a summer camp, told the coach they planned to get back in touch with the prospect later this month.
Asked what it would mean to pick up a scholarship offer, Johnson said, “It would mean a lot to me knowing that I would be able to go to college and keep doing what I love to do, which is playing football.”
The receiver said he has been hearing from coaches at Troy, South Alabama, UAB and Clemson in addition to the invitation from Auburn. His coach noted that Alabama State is showing interest, too.
A starter on both offense and defense since his ninth grade season, Johnson was a Class 3A All-State selection as a junior. He also plays basketball, baseball and competes in track and field for the Panthers.
In his previous game, a 50-20 road win at Beulah on Friday night, Johnson scored three touchdowns and set up another by running across the field for a key block to clear a path for a teammate who had caught a short pass. He ran past defenders and ran through would-be tackles, too.
“He had a touchdown called back and on the same possession he scored another,” Flowers noted. “He is as fast as lightning and is one of those high-motor guys. He weighs 185 and he plays like he is 250 pounds. He never comes off the field and doesn’t get tired.
“He is a good kid,” Flowers added, noting that Johnson has a qualifying ACT score and good grades. “He is very humble and has great parents.”