Zeandae Johnson Feels Like Family on Visit

Zeandae Johnson was being circled by another team clad in blue and gold, but his visit to Cal this weekend helped him say "no thanks" to the Wolverines, and "yes, please" to his new future teammates -- and roommates.

As they did with California wide receiver commit Austin Aaron, the Michigan coaching staff also targeted Golden Bears defensive end commit Zeandae Johnson as the dead period ended after the New Year.

“They were trying to get me to set up an official,” Johnson said. “They wanted me to come out there, and talked about playing tight end. At Cal, we don’t have, but I’m not really that concerned about it.”

Despite that serious interest from the Wolverines, though, Johnson stayed true. Like Aaron, though, Johnson was firmed up in his commitment by his official visit this weekend.

“Really, it was going out and seeing the campus one more time, and the historical landmarks, and the huge library – that’s going to be a plus,” said Johnson, echoing fellow defensive line commit Cameron Saffle. “All that stuff is set up for me, and I’m solid. I’m ready to get in there.”

So, about that potential Michigan visit? “Nah, doesn’t look like that’s going to go down,” said Johnson.

Johnson has a 3.5 GPA, and wants to major in business when he gets to Cal. He’s currently taking Advanced Placement Macroeconomics.

“They have a huge business program that everyone wants to be in,” Johnson said. “They had a lot of academic stuff set up for us so we could see how things functioned around there, and see the help we have.”

Johnson started setting up his suite for when he arrives in July, deciding that he, Russell Ude, Malik Psalms and Trevor Howard would bunk together.

“To be honest, I’m ready to go out there already and get started,” Johnson said. “Russ Ude and Trevor, those were the two guys I hung with the most, trying to gel in with those guys. We share the same position, and we’re going to be doing a lot of the same things.”

He got that ball rolling by sitting down and talking with defensive line coach Fred Tate.

“I talked with him for a couple hours, about defense, and how I could fit in playing defensive end,” Ude said.

What really drove home the value of the Cal commitment, though, was the time that Ude – a Fresno, Calif., native – got to spend with his nine-year old little brother at the arcade on Pier 39.

“My little brother was having a ball at the arcade, and it was great for me to see him having fun,” Johnson said. “Seeing him with the family, it made me realize that this isn’t just affecting me; it’s affecting them.”

That’s not to say that Johnson himself didn’t have a little bit of fun.

“I was cheating a little bit,” he laughed. “I was on the little kids’ basketball shot, and I was just dunking the ball. My arms were long enough, so I was just dunking it. I went around with some of the parents, playing some air hockey and stuff. It was fun.”

Johnson will return to Berkeley for the spring game on April 18.


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