Johnson gives Tigers options

CLEMSON - The late addition of Noel Johnson not only propelled Clemson's recruiting class to one of the top 15 classes in the country, it also made sure the Tigers have plenty of options in replacing shooting guard Terrence Oglesby this season.

What was supposed to be a three man recruiting class was allowed to grow to four when Terrence Oglesby decided to leave Clemson early to pursue a professional basketball career in Europe.

Noel Johnson was the late addition to Clemson's 2009 group that already included a five star prospect in Milton Jennings, a four star prospect Devin Booker and Donte Hill, a three star.

"They say we're supposed to be the best recruiting class that Clemson has ever had. We just have to put it together now and prove it on the floor," Johnson said.

Before he joined the other three to make up Scout.com's 11th best class in the nation, his path took an unsuspecting turn.

In late May, Johnson was released from a National Letter of Intent with the University of Southern California after then USC Coach Tim Floyd had been accused of providing improper benefits by giving cash to a handler of O. J. Mayo in order to influence Mayo to choose USC. The accusations resulted in an NCAA investigation, eventually leading to Floyd's resignation in June.

"It was kind of difficult," Johnson admitted. "I had my mind set on USC. On the second time around I just took my time and visited five different schools. Fortunately, Clemson was the last school I visited, so I chose Clemson."

He took official visits to UNLV, Xavier, LSU and Clemson and an unofficial to Charlotte. Sure that he was going to be a Tiger of some sort, his decision came down to Clemson or LSU.

Out of Fayetteville GA's Fayette County HS, Johnson was rated a four star prospect and No. 56 in the nation by Scout.com. He could potentially play any of the positions, one through three. With plenty of depth at point guard, he figures most of his minutes will come at the shooting guard and small forward spots.

Less than a month away from his first collegiate game, he believes he's adjusted pretty well to Clemson.

"Coach (Oliver Purnell) is definitely a great guy and this is a great staff," he said. "They come in on days off and help me shoot or just work on different drills. It's been very helpful."

With nearly 35 points gone from a season ago, Johnson hopes to play a big role in the scoring. He hopes to bring a little extra to the defensive end of the floor too by providing some length.

"I just want to be an overall team player like I have been for my who career," he said.

Johnson's first game experience in Littlejohn Coliseum is scheduled for Nov. 13 when Clemson plays Presbyterian.

"I heard its one of the loudest gyms in the country so we'll see what it's like once the season gets going," Johnson said.

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