RECRUITING: Pancake Man has strong message

One of the biggest surprises for Gator fans this recruiting season was the early commitment of big time offensive lineman Carl Johnson of Durham (NC) Southern. The 6-6, 335 pound one man wrecking crew is affectionately known as the"Pancake Man" due to his ability to put defenders on their posterior. Johnson was in town this weekend for his official visit to the Gators and left with some words Gator fans will enjoy.

(Carl Johnson profile)

The five-star US Army All-American is a great kid but does not usually mince his words. At the end of our interview he left Gator fans with a straightforward and simple message:

"First and foremost, I am honored to be recruited by Florida," started Johnson. "I have a great deal of respect for their fans. I am going 100% for four years, and I guarantee a national championship before I leave."

Big words for a big man, but Johnson is one of those guys that makes a decision and will not back out of it. Johnson was one of the first to arrive for his official visit on Friday and he certainly saw nothing this weekend to make him waiver in his commitment.

"The visit was good," he said. "I showed up Friday about 5 O'clock. I talked to the coaches and ate. Then we went to the basketball game, but we left at halftime. That was a crazy atmosphere in the basketball dome."

The next day it was all about the football game and the atmosphere surrounding it. Johnson sure got a taste of what is to come with the Gators blowout victory over Florida State.

"It was high tempo and the crowd made it hard for Florida State to make any audibles," he said. "You can't make audibles when your receivers can't hear what you are trying to say, or they can't focus because they can't think right. That was keeping them off balance and off key. The crowd loves their Gators so that played a big role."

The bleachers in the south end zone were packed with star athletes from all around. Johnson as usual was busy trying to entice others to join him in the atmosphere they were a part of on a regular basis.

"I talked to Tim Tebow and Brandon Spikes and they really enjoyed it," Johnson said. "It was Spikes' first time being in the Swamp, I think they are strongly considering it."

Johnson was hosted on the trip by Gator freshman offensive guard Ronnie Wilson. Johnson appreciated his host.

"Ronnie Wilson was my host," Johnson said. "He was cool we hung out a little bit. We met up with some of the teammates and had some fun at night."

Sunday Johnson and his father met with the Gator staff and finalized his appearance again in January.

"We ate breakfast and I met with Coach Meyer, Coach Hevesy, and Coach Holliday," he said. "I told them I'll be back to see them in about a month."

His arrival in Gainesville will be delayed about a week as Johnson will be in San Antonio playing against some of America's finest high school seniors in the US Army All-American game. Johnson is honored to be selected.

"It was a great honor," he said. "Out of however many high school players to be selected one of the best -- it is a great honor and I am very thankful for it.

He also will be busy trying to add to his recruiting class.

"I'm trying to help recruit some more (from the game)," he said.

One position he wants to help solidify are his linemates when he gets to the University of Florida. Johnson knows he can't be a one-man gang up front.

"Maurice Hurt came down to Tennessee game and I talked to him," Johnson said. "I talked to Sam Young and Marcus Gilbert, we have a strong connection. Hopefully when we are in San Antonio and if Sam hasn't made his decision, I can help lure him to Gainesville. He's already in Florida and its close for him. It'll be an easy adjustment."

Johnson is expecting a speedy adjustment for himself when he gets to Gainesville. He believes he is physically and mentally ready to step on the field upon his arrival.

"My school runs the same style offense, the only adjustment I need to make is getting used to the speed and endurance," he said. "I think I can contribute right away to the team, so I can't wait to get there."

Gator fans can't wait for the Pancake Man either. Carl Johnson was a surprise in the summer when he committed, but his presence in the recruiting world is definitely no surprise.

Fightin Gators Top Stories