National signing day has come and gone, but the Bearcat football coaching staff has not yet relaxed. Bearcat Insider received a tip this week that Derrell Johnson of Youngstown Mooney High School is interested in visiting the Clifton campus. The Bearcat staff was jilted only ten days ago at the "letter of intent altar" by wide receiver Jason Sherman, but Coach Dantonio may actually rebound with an upgrade at that wide receiver spot.
Jason Sherman is rated by scout.com as a two star player. The 6' 1"/190 pound Johnson is a three star recruit rated the 49th best receiver in the country and top high school receiver still unsigned. Johnson reportedly had offers from North Carolina, West Virginia, Purdue, Iowa, and Penn State in addition to Cincinnati's offer.
The biggest question mark about Johnson is his grades, but when Bearcat Insider called his home Saturday afternoon, Derrell was diligently working on his deficiency. BCI spoke to his mother, Lauren, about Derrell‘s academic preparation. "He's pretty much set. He's going to be very close in the next few months from what I understand. It's looking pretty good for Derrell. He‘s got himself turned around, and he‘s putting forth some hard work. That‘s really all we‘re focusing on. He‘s working on some courses right now and probably won‘t be home for a couple hours."
Later in the day, BCI called again and spoke to Derrell about his interest in UC. "Cincinnati has been calling, and I have a visit February 24." When asked about his reported interest in Ohio State, Johnson replied, "I'm trying to keep my options open, but I need to make a decision pretty soon." Since the Bearcats have a scholarship offer on the table, Derrell was asked if he might actually sign with UC on his visit in two weeks, "Yes, Sir, that's a possibility."
At Division IV Cardinal Mooney, Derrell used his 4.4-4.5 speed to play quarterback and cornerback. He broke his fibula halfway through the season but returned for the playoffs only to sustain a foot injury in the team's state semifinal victory over Nate Davis and Bellaire. Derrell was unable to play in the state championship loss to Coldwater High School. Most schools were recruiting Derrell as an athlete, but he wants to play receiver at the next level, which meshes nicely with the Bearcats' needs.
Bearcat Insider will continue to follow this developing story.