The Highlands Ranch (Colo.) High lineman that is affectionately known as "Big Salsa" now has two Pac-12 options. Austin Johnson received an offer from Colorado on June 21, hours after performing well at a select camp in Boulder, and he added an offer from Arizona State six days later.
"It is crazy because it kind of happened fast," Johnson told BuffStampede.com while taking a short break from his family vacation to Hawaii. "It is hard to explain what it feels like, but it is definitely a great experience.
"CU said they liked what I did that day, everything from the drills to just the hustle I showed. They said they think I would be a good Pac-12 player. I had been up there before for a Junior Day and it is a beautiful campus. I definitely like CU's facilities and their uniforms.
"Then I was driving home one day and I got a call from my trainer, Matt McChesney, and he told me ASU wanted to offer me. So I called up their offensive line coach and talked to him. I like Arizona State, it is a good school but it is just so early right now so it is hard to tell who I like the best."
Johnson has held an offer from Colorado State since last summer and he continues to hear from the Rams "from time to time."
Johnson has been working out at Six Zero Strength since his freshman year so he has seen plenty of his peers go through the recruiting process.
"I was just talking to Sam Jones the other day when he was down in Colorado working out. He just told me to be patient, feel it out," Johnson said. "One of the questions I had for him was, 'How do I know this is the school for me?' He told me, 'Take your visits and be smart about it, space them out, so you can go home and think about it and soak it all in.' He said, 'Don't get into the bull-crap associated with the process.'"
Currently 6-foot-4, 255-pounds, Johnson is working to gain weight to his frame. He will most likely factor in at offensive guard at the next level, although McChesney believes he has the size and skill set to play the three-technique, as a defensive lineman, in college.
"I would be open to defense but right now I mainly just play offense," he said. "I am trying to get up to 280, 285, but I want it to be good weight. I don't want to just put on fat."
Johnson helped Highlands Ranch to seven wins and a second-place league finish behind Valor Christian in 2016. The Falcons will feature a talented freshman quarterback in Jake Rubley this fall. Johnson has been out to watch and support Rubley on the 7-on-7 circuit this summer and he has also tried to be there for Ray Robinson. A 2018 Colorado commit, Robinson recently suffered a torn ACL and will miss his senior season.
"It sucks that it had to happen, especially to Ray because he works so hard," Johnson said. "We have to lift him up and help him get back for his college career. We have some guys that are still getting used to their position but we should have a pretty solid team, we should have a solid season."
The other in-state prospects from that Class of 2019 that already hold an offer from the Buffs are Lewis-Palmer quarterback Ty Evans, Valor Christian running back Joshia Davis, Valor Christian athlete Luke McCaffrey and Eaglecrest offensive tackle Barrett Miller.