RECRUITING: Johnson Looks For New Environment

Mark Johnson, a four star linebacker and defensive end, from Susan Miller Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, is looking to get away. Johnson, who has been selected for the US Army All-American Game, is not looking to get away from football. He's just interested in getting into a new environment.

(See Mark Johnson profile)

A new environment for Johnson means looking outside of Los Angeles for the place he will be playing college football.

Johnson says, "I kind of want to get away a little bit. I want to go to a place where I can play football in front of a big crowd. I want to go to a major college football town."

Johnson spends time balancing school, football and everyday life. Johnson says that he knows what is important.

"You have to have your priorities together," he said. "I place God first, family second, football third, and everything else after that. You have to be dedicated to your class work and have the determination to get it done, even if you're tired after practice."

The university that wins what promises to be a heated recruiting war for Johnson will win a dedicated football player. He is determined to do whatever he needs to do to succeed whether it is on the playing field or in the classroom.

"Every Monday my coach gives me game film for the game coming up on Friday," he said. "I watch film with my coach during lunch and he tells me the things I need to look for. I take the film home and study it every night.

"Watching film makes the game easier because I learn so much about the opponent. By looking at the film I can get the rhythm of their offense, and how they like to call their plays. I study the players and their tendencies. Watching film helps you a lot because you are able to make plays that you would not make if you did not watch the film."

The ability to effectively break down film will definitely go a long way in football. All the universities looking to put Johnson's talent to use will be very impressed by his work ethic. How many high school kids are thinking about watching film during lunch? The topic of conversation is more likely, "Should we have McDonald's or Taco Bell?"

Just about every Division I school in the nation has at least contacted him, but there are four schools that stand out from the pack.

"The University of Florida, Arizona State University, UCLA, and the University of Miami are the four schools that have my attention at this moment," he said.

Although those are his favorite schools, he's keeping his options open and that includes some other visits.

"I'm going to LSU-Florida next week, Cal in December and Ohio State, but I'm not sure which games I will be present for those schools," he said.

Even though Florida is all the way across the continent, he has a real interest in the Gators.

Johnson says, "Urban Meyer is a great coach, and I really like Florida."

He said the Gators would like him to switch positions, however, and at this point that could be a bit of a problem.

"Florida coaches are trying to move me down to the defensive line but I'm not going unless they keep me at linebacker," he said. He plays middle linebacker in a 4-3 set for Dorsey.

"I like the versatility of linebacker," he said. "I get to move out in pass situations and like the trips. I get to move out and play the pass as well as the run."

Johnson isn't going to make his college decision all alone. He's going to rely on friends, teammates and coaches to help out.

"I have people on my team that will help me break down everything in the recruiting process," he said. "I am looking for a school that has a good campus environment, a good football team, and great academics."

Johnson wants to earn a business degree and he dreams of one day owning his own business.

There will be no signing day surprises for Johnson, either. He's going to make his decision public about one month before the first Tuesday in February.

"I will announce my commitment at the US Army All-American Bowl," he said.

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