In State Lineman A Top Priority

Make no bones about it. Duke's top priority in the class of 2006 is to compliment 2005's spectacular defensive line class with a top group of offensive linemen. While the search will undoubtedly reach across the country, one of the nation's top prospects is right under their noses in Durham.

"Right now I'm getting a lot of attention, but there is no real rush," says 6-foot-6, 330lbs Southern Durham High standout Carl Johnson. "I have offers from Oklahoma, USC, Tennessee, Duke, NC State, North Carolina, Florida, and Nebraska."

Given his terrific size and comparable speed (5.1 in the 40 yard dash), Johnson projects as an impact player on the next level, in the right circumstances. However the depth chart won't be the sole factor when it ultimately comes time for a decision.

"Academics are going to be a big factor for me. I want to get a great education wherever I end up going. I also want to go where the fan base is excited and where the coaching staff and team is really tight knit."

Johnson also indicates that distance will be a factor when he's looking to make his choice -- "I'd like for my parents to be able to come and watch me play in college," he added.

In the weight room Johnson reports maxes of 330 pounds on the bench press, 500 pounds on squats, all while being able to power clean 330 pounds. Add in a solid GPA thanks to having a educator for a father, and it's clear that Johnson is the total package.

Which is why, in addition to all the offers already on the table, he's getting interest from nearly every major program in the country.

"Most of the schools who were in the top 25 are interested in Carl," says his father and Southern assistant coach Jeff Parker. "He's really beginning to understand the game and how to use his size and strength."

Johnson agrees that he's in a good position right now, but has work to do to become an even better player.

"I know my size helps me a lot, but at the next level it'll be more about technique than anything else. That's where I've got to work – and that's what I've been concentrating on."

And while he's doing that, it's a safe bet that several top programs will be concentrating on him.

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