Spanish Fort, Ala.--Thomas Johnston was hoping to get a committable scholarship offer from the Auburn Tigers on his official visit over the weekend and that happened for the senior from Spanish Fort High School.
The Tigers are now on his list of four colleges he will pick from on Jan. 26th after he takes his final official visit to Ole Miss. The Rebels have offered him a scholarship as a linebacker and the same is the case with Arkansas and Iowa while Auburn’s offer is to play fullback/H-back, the position currently handled by Chandler Cox, who was Johnston’s player host for the weekend.
“Chandler did a great job,” Johnston said. “He is a big kid and he has a great personality. He is always happy.”
Commenting on his interest in the AU program, Johnston said, “I have always grown up loving Auburn. I have always loved the people and I have many friends outside of football up there. Going out and hanging out with them says a lot.
“Right now they are looking at me at H-back. They said things can change. The opportunity there is open because Chandler doesn’t need to take all the beating he did this year and he knows that, too. Being able to come in as a freshman would be awesome.”
The Tigers have a slot open for a fullback/H-back in the 2017 class with Kamryn Pettway moving to running back this past season.
“Coach (Gus) Malzahn told me he wants me to play for his team,” Johnston said. “He said I am a fit for Auburn and that says a lot. He asked me to commit this morning and asked where I stood.
“I know that I am at the top of their list now and I am excited about,”?he added. Johnston noted that he has played H-back in goal line packages in high school, but pointed out that he has not played offensively on a regular basis since he was in middle school.
Asked about his preference for what position he plays in college, he said, “I really don’t care. I am linebacker, but I am also a football player that wants to get on the field. That is a freshman’s dream so I am open to anything.
“At first I wanted nothing to do with it,” he said when Auburn coaches had previously told him they were interested in recruiting him for offense. “Now that I?have looked into it Chandler gets the ball a lot and that makes it fun. Going to games at Auburn they are exciting and being able to play in front of your state says a lot.”
Johnston said that he likes that the fullback/H-back gets to line up at receiver and said that he has good hands for that assignment. “It is not just straight blocking,”?he said. “They have fun with them.”
Also a college prospect in baseball, Johnston has talked to AU’s head coach in that sport, Butch Thompson, from “time to time.” The prospect noted that playing both sports wasn’t discussed on his official visit, but had been mentioned earlier in the recruiting process. “I think they are open for it,”?he said.
“I talked to a couple of (pro) scouts and they told me if I have a good year I?have a possibility to get drafted,” said Johnston.
Named the MVP?of the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game in December, Johnston spent time with two of his teammates from that game who have already enrolled at Auburn--linebacker K.J. Britt and defensive back Malcolm Askew. He also spend time over the weekend with another early graduate, quarterback Malik Willis.
“I got to hang out with Chandler and all of them, too, so it was a great time...They said the opportunity is there so they want me to join them. Playing the all-star game with Malcolm, K.J. and all of them, it was awesome. Auburn definitely has good guys in this class.”
Johnston said that he plays to make his decision on Jan. 30th, four days after his final official visit when he checks out Ole Miss. “I definitely want to take a couple days after and then I will be ready.
“I am excited to see where God puts me,” he said. “I am just going to pray about it and He is going to place me where I need to beat.”