“It was cool,” Johnson said. “I don’t know much about BYU, but I look forward to looking more into it. I just know what people have been telling me that BYU is really strict on rules and kids there can’t do anything. But it was great having a coach come out and talk to me, so it was really cool.”
While the honor code may seem strict to some, to Johnson it really doesn’t apply.
“Nah, I don’t do those things anyways so it doesn’t really affect me,” said Johnson. “Those things can be contagious and distract you from the reasons of why you’re there.”
In fact for Johnson, BYU’s honor code is a positive. He actually made the decision to attend Bishop Mora Salesian High School, which is a private Catholic school, for the purpose of surrounding himself with people of higher moral character.
“Yeah, it’s definitely a positive thing for me,” said Johnson. “I made the decision to go to a high school like Salesian, which is a private, rather than go to a public school. It was the same kind of decision where I would be isolated from a lot of bad things and girls there, so it was kind of the same kind of a decision. Now that I’m looking to go to college I’m kind of looking at the same thing, so for me it’s definitely a plus for me.”
However, at BYU, there are girls to be found.
“Yeah, but those are the kind of girls you’d be proud to bring home to momma,” said Johnson with a laugh.
That is very true. And the BYU coach that Johnson can thank for came out to Los Angeles to offer him the opportunity to meet such girls and play in an environment much like Salesian High School is none other than BYU cornerbacks coach Jernaro Gilford, who’s combing Southern California to find the best athletes he can.
“I was offered by Coach Gilford,” said Johnson. “I [had] been talking to Coach Gilford for over a month when he offered. He’s a real cool dude and he’s from out this way, so we had a lot in common and had a lot to talk about.”
Johnson comes in at 6-5, 205-pounds and possesses a 4.62 forty yard dash. His athleticism, body control, and leaping ability makes him a viable candidate to play multiple positions if needed.
“[Coach Gilford] said he loved my athleticism and my ability to play multiple positions because of my skills. He actually offered me to play outside linebacker and corner, so he likes how I move and thinks that with my long arms and speed I could be very effective at the cornerback position.”
It’s hard to imagine that there’s ever been a 6-5 cornerback at BYU in their football history. Johnson would definitely be a first at BYU, but what makes him suitable for cornerback? Well, Johnson makes a few NFL comparisons from the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals.
“Yeah, I got a little bit of Richard Sherman in me and little bit of Patrick Peterson in me,” said Johnson with a chuckle in his voice.
Playing outside linebacker where he can rush the quarterback and drop back into coverage might be more suitable for Johnson as he fills out his body, but Coach Gilford apparently believes in Johnson’s skills to succeed on the gridiron.
“Playing the outside linebacker position and coming off the edge to make plays for dropping back and being able to cover is definitely a good thing,” said Johnson. “Being an outside backer you can’t just stay in the hole; you have to be able to move around. I definitely think that is a plus, you know, being able to rush and move around and cover as someone who can play multiple positions on the field.”
“[BYU] is my 13th offer,” Johnson who now has 18 offers. “I got one from Utah, Washington State, Washington, UCLA, Hawaii, Nebraska, Cal, San Diego State, Fresno State, Notre Dame, BYU, Fresno State, Illinois, Oregon State, Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, and Michigan State.”
With so many offers to choose from what exactly is Johnson looking for at the next level?
“I’m definitely looking at academics, first and foremost,” said Johnson. “My coaches always tell me is that going to college is a 40 year plan not a four year plan, so I want to be able to go to a college that when I get my degree I don’t have to worry about what I’m going to do after I try and go to the league.
“I also want to go to a program where I can compete for a national championship, and if not that, then back-to-back bowl games. I also want to go to a college where there’s a good environment. I want to be around good people and not be timid because I’m not like those around me who don’t have the same kind of standards I do.”