Clemson offers Ga. ‘Player'

Since he was in middle school, this Gainesville (Ga.) High School linebacker has had a ton of nicknames. From J-breaky to J-man, he has been nicknamed just about anything and everything that fits.

"It's just different stuff like that," A.J. Johnson said Thursday night. "There are a whole lot of nicknames out there for me. One of my best friends since middle school has called me different kinds of names ever since and for some reason they all kind of stuck. They have all stuck with me."

One that will more than likely stick now that major college offers are coming into the 6-foot-3, 221-pound linebacker — player. Clemson University was the second school to give the 2011 athlete an offer Thursday, one Johnson suspected all along.

"I knew they were going to offer," he said. "It was just a matter of when."

Clemson offensive coordinator Billy Napier made the trip to Gainesville Thursday to talk with Johnson's coaches and give them the offer.

"When I went down (to Clemson for the spring game) I had like a one-on-one with Coach Napier. He is a real cool guy. I really liked him and I really liked Clemson."

Clemson extended an invitation for Johnson and his family to come back and visit Clemson anytime they would like this summer. Johnson also plans to attend one of Clemson's football camps.

"I will go down to their camp for like three days or something like that and we will just talk to them," he said.

This spring has been an eventful spring for the Gainesville linebacker, who has attended several combines, while getting a glimpse of what big-time college football recruiting is like for a player.

"There are a lot of good people out there," Johnson said. "It has been exciting seeing how early it (the recruiting process) has started. I keep trying to stay humble and keep working hard in the weight room. I know if I do that than good things will come."

At the Scout Combine in Atlanta a few weeks back, he really put on a show.

"Johnson was physically one of the best looking prospects in Atlanta," said Scout recruiting analyst Chad Simmons earlier this month. "He worked at linebacker and did not look as fluid in space as he did in the agility drills before the one on ones. Johnson may end up with his hand down on the next level because of frame, agility, and potential.

"He will be one to watch this fall."

So far Clemson and Tennessee have seen enough to be his only offers at this point. Johnson, however, is expecting more offers in the near future, including ones from South Carolina and North Carolina.

He plans on visiting both schools this summer, but he thinks an offer could come before then. Johnson is also being courted by Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and Georgia Tech. Right now he says he has no favorites, but he has been impressed with Clemson to this point. Top Stories