Choctaw County Linebacker Chooses Tigers

One of the most productive linebackers in Alabama history gave his commitment to Auburn on Sunday.

Butler, Ala.--Auburn picked up its first commitment for the weekend on Sunday as athletic linebacker Merrill Johnson pledged to be an Auburn Tiger in a meeting with Coach Tommy Tuberville Sunday morning. Saying that it just felt right, Johnson says the meeting went well and he knew it was the right time and place for him.

"I made my decision on Sunday," Johnson tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "I grew up in the country all my life and Auburn just felt like home. It felt like the best place for me."

A player that had been considering schools such as West Virginia and Arkansas early in the process along with Auburn and UAB, the 6-1, 195 Johnson says that in the end it came down to the Tigers and the Blazers before he ultimately decided to join Coach Tommy Tuberville's program. Hosted by fellow linebacker Travis Williams as well as running back Carl Stewart, Johnson says he had a good time just hanging out with the current Auburn players and getting to see how they spend their time away from football.

Merrill Johnson

"We hit it off cool," Johnson says. "The guys up there are great. Friday night with Travis we just hung out and played video games for much of the time. We did go out and had a fun. Saturday was very fun. We went to the stadium and they had our jerseys and highlights. We got to go on the field. It was all very fun.

"I spent a lot of time with Travis, Carl, Ronnie (Ronnie Brown), basically all of the football players that were in Auburn," he adds. "We all hung out together. They are like a big family. They just always hang out together and do everything."

A dominating player from his linebacker spot for Choctaw County, Johnson had 184 tackles, nine sacks and caused four fumbles as a senior to earn Class 4A All-State honors by the Alabama Sports Writers Association and he was one of three finalists for the Class 4A Lineman of the Year.

A four-year starter at linebacker and occasionally seeing time at running back, Johnson had 401 career tackles and 20 sacks while playing all three positions in Choctaw County's 4-3 scheme. In addition to his defensive numbers he also rushed the ball 50 times for just over 400 yards as a senior. With 4.54 speed in the 40-yard dash Johnson has no problems getting to the ball carrier on defense and should fit in well with Auburn's style of play.

Johnson becomes Auburn's 13th public commitment this year.

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