This summer, California four-star receiver commit Taariq Johnson stopped by a local mall, and a pair of spectacles caught his eye: Circular, light, with silver frames -- they just stuck out, kind of like Johnson, himself.
"It just happened really I just picked 'em up tried em on and went on from there," said Johnson. "Now, they've become a part of his look. "I guess you could say that. The glasses have become a trade mark."
Johnson proudly says that he has perfect 20/20 vision, so, in reality, he doesn't need the Harry Potter specs (and, no, he doesn't have a Gryffindor scarf in his locker), and he didn't need any aid to see that, despite an impressive showing by Nebraska during an October official visit, Cal was still the clear choice.
"It was a cool visit, and great to meet up with their wide receiver coach, but towards the end it just wasn't enough to get me to change my mind Cal beats them out academically and systematically too. Over all Cal was better when I weighed my options and I stuck with my gut and made what I felt was the right decision."
In fact, when BearTerritory spoke with Johnson on Wednesday, he had just signed his financial aid papers to enroll early at Berkeley, following his official visit this past weekend. During that official, he participated in a photo shoot with receiver gloves, a jersey and, yes, his glasses.
"Of course theres always going to be someone giving me grief over them but I don't mind. It's my thing and no one can stop me," Johnson said.
During his official, the decision he reinforced in Lincoln was further buttressed.
"It's a crazy feeling just knowing that high school is almost over," he said. "As we speak, I only have one more day left of school it's been a long four years up until this point and I can't wait to get to the next level ... It's honestly and truly a family up there and I can't wait to walk into campus and get to work."
That photo shoot was the moment where everything clicked for the 6-foot-4, 210-pounder out of Buena Park (Calif.).
"Reality set in really fast in that moment, and it just made me wanna be here ASAP," Johnson said. "It's honestly and truly a family up there and I can't wait to walk into campus and get to work."
"I've known Jaylinn for a long time, along with a lot of other players on the team," said Johnson, who's made multiple unofficial visits since his commitment back in April. "It was just good to catch up him and the rest."
Most of the weekend was consumed with further strengthening the bonds Johnson has already made, even if he wasn't much of a competitor when the visit group went to an arcade on Pier 39.
"Yea we went to the arcade but no I didn't beat anyone I'm not that big a guy on games," he laughed. "I got to bond with everyone coaching staff and players alike."
He also asked head coach Sonny Dykes about the Baylor coaching drama from just two weeks ago. As an early enrollee, Johnson certainly had some concerns, but he also said he realized that, coming in early, he has a chance to set an example, and how some faith.
"Most definitely there's a little tension that comes in the situation, but I'm prepared to accept that role," Johnson said. "Come in, work hard, and live up to expectations."