Junior college linebacker expecting BYU offer

This Friday, El Camino College linebacker Auston Johnson will be flying up to BYU for an official visit. Although he doesn't have a BYU scholarship in hand yet, Johnson is hoping – and expecting – that he'll receive an official offer from Coach Mendenhall. The reason he's hoping for an offer is simple: BYU is his top college choice.

There were rumors floating around on Monday that 6-foot-1-inch, 245-pound Auston Johnson had committed to BYU. While that isn't the case, Johnson does like what he's heard from BYU.

"I haven't committed to them yet, but they are the number one school and in the driver seat right now," said Johnson. "I mean, I already like BYU and I've researched the school and what they're all about. I like what Coach Tidwell is talking about and what the program is about."

Johnson hasn't committed to BYU because he hasn't received an official offer from the coaching staff. He does have reason, however, to expect one.

"It's kind of like an offer they've given me but it's not official until I go up there and talk to Coach Mendenhall," said Johnson. "They said how Coach Mendenhall likes the players to come on campus and be there. Coach Tidwell said he doesn't like the recruiting game, and he said he doesn't like how people play the recruiting game like how some will wait it out. He wants players that want to be there and this is how they show that.

"It's like when you get there, you'll know if you want to be there or not. That's why I think they get the caliber of players they get. All the players there want to be there, and so they're going to give it their all. So right now it's not a formal offer until the head coach makes it official based on that."

The official offer will more than likely come this weekend when Johnson takes an official visit to Provo to meet with Coach Mendenhall.

"I just have to meet with Coach Mendenhall by the end of this weekend," he said. "I'm expecting the offer most likely when I get up there this weekend. I'll probably just make my decision right then as well. I'll be heading up there this Friday."

For BYU, there is a risk in holding an offer for an athlete until he visits not long before signing day. A prospect could get on campus but then decide he wants to go elsewhere, leaving BYU hanging late in the recruiting game.

"I just think that it's really cool and really quite the compliment and honor that they would do that for me," Johnson said about BYU holding an offer for him. "I also think it's cool that they are showing me that I'm their number one guy. It makes me feel like they really want me there, and I don't want to go to a place that doesn't really want me there. I just think it's really cool how they're recruiting me, and, quite honestly, think how they are doing it is the best way because they won't have to bother with those kids that don't want to be there anyways."

On Monday night, inside linebacker coach Paul Tidwell paid an in-home visit to Johnson and his family.

"It was pretty cool and we had a good visit," said Johnson. "We talked about the defense and he showed me a little bit of the defense. It's pretty cool what they're doing, and with the scheme I would fit right in. We also talked a lot about academics and schooling and stuff like that. That was pretty much the main thing we were talking about. He also explained that BYU's defense works hard. They were ranked number three in the nation this past season."

Johnson also came away with a favorable opinion of Tidwell.

"Coach Tidwell seems like a funny guy when he wants to be," said Johnson. "That was something I could tell about him, but at the same time I could tell he's the type of person that can be serious and really get down to business. He's a cool guy and I really like him a lot. I can see myself playing for a coach like that."

In regards to BYU's defense, Coach Mendenhall has various standards that he wants his defense to strive for. Johnson views it as a big compliment to have been selected by the staff to continue that tradition.

"I do feel it's an honor that I've been singled out by them to come in and be a player they feel they can trust to come in and continue that standard," Johnson said. "It feels good because I'm not that 6'3" or big guy that most colleges look for. At BYU, they look for guys that can play football. They're not all about the eyes or the appearance of a player, but more about the quality of the player. They want guys that work hard, play disciplined and will play together as a unit rather than an individual. I feel like that's how it is at BYU. There's no individualism and [it's] more about the team effort at BYU, and that's what you want from a program."

So this weekend, Johnson is expecting he'll be given an offer. As he implied, there's a good chance he will commit right away should he received that offer.

"The visit with Paul Tidwell was really good and helped to confirm to me why BYU is one of my top choices," Johnson said. "BYU has been one of my top choices mainly because they've been honest with me from day one throughout the whole recruiting process. Coach Tidwell has been honest and up front with me the whole time. Some of these schools will lie to you and sell you a dream, but BYU has always been up front with me and has never done that. They've been straight up with me from day one. Coach Tidwell gives out good vibes and BYU seems like a good place. It seems like a good home and a place I'd like to be. Even my parents like Coach Tidwell a lot."


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