Johnson doesn't receive desired BYU offer

This past weekend, BYU hosted a large group of recruits on campus for official visits. Some were committed and some had yet to receive a BYU offer. One of those hoping for an offer was El Camino College linebacker Auston Johnson, who left BYU's campus empty handed.

Auston Johnson woke up Friday morning and flew out to Provo, Utah to check out BYU's campus.

"When I first got out there we went to go eat, and then after that I went with a coach to the academic center and learned more about that," Johnson said. "I spent a lot of time at the academic center. Then I went with my host and we played some video games and stuff like that."

Johnson had the opportunity to get to know some of the members of the team.

"It was really cool and it was fun," said Johnson. "My host was cornerback Adam Hogan from L.A. Southwest College. I was also with Jamaal Williams and we're from the same area. He's cool and really funny. He's young but he's a cool kid. He was just hanging out with us and there was another cornerback with us by the name of Jordan Johnson.

"We checked out the facilities and all the football stuff that's out there. The facilities are top notch and it's really nice. We checked out the equipment room, locker room, weight room and all the football-related stuff. It was really nice."

One thing Johnson noticed while on BYU's campus is how friendly everyone around him was.

"The people treat you really nice up there, real nice," he said. "It's just totally different up there and the people always smile and wave. Even the players up there are really nice and friendly. When you talk to them, they're really helpful and welcoming up there. It's different and BYU really is quite a unique institution. I don't have anything negative to say about BYU.

"Even all the high school recruits that are out there are really cool. I was talking to them and their parents and everyone just seemed really nice. It was a fun group to be around, and like I said I don't have anything negative to say. It was just a good environment and BYU is just a great place to be. They recruit kids to fit that environment and a lot of that has to do with character. BYU is a good place to be and the fact they recruit character kids to fit that environment is a big part of why BYU is the way it is. There are just a lot of nice people there."

Then came Saturday and some fun activities with the recruits.

"Saturday, we went and checked out some more academic stuff, and then we did some things revolving around football and then had lunch," Johnson said. "After lunch we went snowmobiling. That was a lot of fun going pretty fast up the trails. Nobody crashed, but Josh Carter jumped off his snowmobile and hit the snow pretty good. When he went jumping off I had to turn and miss him and that's when I headed back downhill. It was a lot of fun."

After some fun in the snow, Johnson's day wasn't over yet.

"Following the snowmobiling, we went back to our hotels and relaxed for a little bit. Then we went to go eat and went back out with our hosts," Johnson said. "We went to a basketball game when BYU played San Diego and that was really nice. What amazed me the most was when Kyle Van Noy gave a little speech to the crowd at the game. He's basically like a celebrity out there and everybody was going wild for him when he was given the half-time speech. It was pretty fun!"

Johnson was also able to sit and speak with Coach Mendenhall.

"Coach Mendenhall is a great guy and he's really intense," Johnson said. "He knows his stuff and is really stingy about giving up stuff. He doesn't like to give up anything on defense and that's probably why they're so good and stuff like that.

"He basically explained the situation and how if the other guy, Chasen Andersen, didn't commit that I would have had a scholarship there. If he did commit I would sort of be out of luck or a preferred walk-on."

A majority of the time, the highlight of the official trip for recruits is the fun they have while snowmobiling along trails in the backwoods of the Wasatch Mountains. Johnson, however, had a different highlight.

"I would have to say that my highlight of the trip was listening to a talk given by Coach Mendenhall where he talked about his defense," said Johnson. "We met him in a room and he gave a talk to all the defensive players. I usually hear coaches say, ‘We don't give up a single yard' and things like that, but Coach Mendenhall talked about how they don't want to give up a single blade of grass. He was basically saying we don't give up anything. I always hear coaches say they want their players to give good effort, but he talked about giving total effort and how they won't give up a single blade of grass. When he was talking about that I was just thinking that Coach Mendenhall really knew what he was talking about. I was really impressed."

So what happens now for Johnson, who is considered the eighth-ranked middle linebacker in the junior college ranks?

"To be honest with you I have no clue what's going to happen," Johnson said. "I'll just be patient and wait and see what happens."

He was hoping that while on his trip to BYU, he would be called into the office of Coach Mendenhall and receive that coveted BYU offer.

"Yeah, I was hoping that BYU would have offered me when I was up there," said Johnson. "I was expecting them, and hoping, that they would offer me when I got up there. I was getting some good vibes from them and from some of the coaches that that was going to happen. It just didn't turn out that way."

At the airport, Johnson received word from Coach Tidwell about his recruiting status. BYU had previously offered Andersen, who was also taking an official visit to BYU. On Saturday, Andersen committed to BYU, leaving Johnson without a Cougar offer.

"[Tidwell] explained to me that the other kid had committed and that's why I wasn't offered. I can't really control what happened and things happen. It is what it is and sometimes stuff happens for a reason. It could still happen and BYU could still offer me. If it happens, it happens."

If Johnny Ragin doesn't hold his commitment to BYU following his visit with Cal on Wednesday, BYU could potentially still offer Johnson a full-ride scholarship. However, the chance of that happening is very slim, with Ragin more than likely holding firm to his Cougar commitment.

"Yeah, if BYU would have offered me while on my trip I would have committed to them right then and there," Johnson claimed. "BYU is a great environment and I was thinking about that before I left. Even my mom [Sophia Petite] wanted me to go there and she was really excited for me. At BYU, they recruit the person and not just the football player.

"They saw all sides of me and I know academically BYU is a great school where I could grow. Football-wise, I know they would get the most out of me because it's a great football program with a top-notch defense. As a person, I feel I would fit in there in every way because they recruit character kids where I could grow as a person. If BYU would have offered me I would have committed. I would have committed to BYU, why wouldn't why? I would have easily come."

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