Two-Sport Standout Handling His Balancing Act

Carver-Montgomery standout Jeremy Johnson has his team one win away from the 6A basketball Final Four while juggling football recruiting on the side.

Montgomery, Ala.—Playing both football and basketball is tough enough for any high school player around the country, but when you're one of the best players in both it becomes a constant battle for time. That's the case with 2013 football and basketball prospect Jeremy Johnson from Carver High.

A visitor to Auburn last Saturday to hang out with the football coaches and also take in a basketball game, he was back on the court Tuesday as the Wolverines took on Auburn High in the Class 6A Central Regional at Alabama State University. With Mississippi State signee Craig Sword bothered by a sore knee the 6-5 junior took over for his team, scoring 28 points on 11-16 shooting and adding five rebounds to lead his team to within one game of the Final Four.

Perhaps his biggest accomplishment, however, was the defense he played on Auburn's 6-3 shooter Cole Stockton. Scoring 13 points in the first half he kept the Tigers in the game, but in the second half Johnson held him to only seven points as Carver broke open a tie game to win 67-47.

"We had to realize that number 12 was getting hot shooting the three-ball," Johnson told Inside The Auburn Tigers. "We just had to come out and play hard defense. I had to take on my role and Craig's role because his knee was messed up. He told me to take over and that's what I did at the end of the game. It just started with preparation at practice."

Playing unselfish basketball is something that Carver Coach James Jackson said is commonplace with Johnson. Johnson is always willing to do whatever it takes for his team to win and Jackson said that showed on Tuesday.

"This kid is just phenomenal," the coach said. "He does everything. He guards the better players. He scores. He rebounds. He can play guard. He can play forward. That's big when you're talking about high school basketball and you've got a guy that can play a number of spots. That's a coach's dream to have one or two guys that are able to float around and play some different spots. He's that guy for us."

Johnson slams one home

Before Johnson can start worrying about a possible football future there is more basketball to take care of this Friday as the Wolverines face Enterprise with a trip to Birmingham on the line.

"It's real exciting," Johnson said of the opportunity to compete for a state championship. "We have a good one Friday against Enterprise. We just have to prepare and work hard in practice."

After that his mind can again focus on football where he is considered one of the top quarterback prospects in the South for 2013. Because of that he is having to work double-time to see colleges for both sports and that leaves little time for anything else at the moment.

"It's pretty tough," Johnson said. "It just depends on which days we have our games, like if we have a game on Friday I try to get somewhere on Saturday. It's tough on me right now, but I'm getting through it. I'm just staying focused."

Last weekend Johnson took a trip to Auburn to hang out with the coaches and watch the Tigers beat Mississippi State in basketball later in the day. While he didn't have the opportunity to meet new offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler last weekend, Johnson said that he will take care of that by going back again this Saturday to sit down and talk with him.

"I mostly hung out with Coach Troop (Trooper Taylor)," Johnson said of last weekend. "I'll be there this weekend to meet him. I'm looking forward to it. Coach (Gene) Chizik was telling me about how great he was at developing quarterbacks. I'm very excited to meet him."

Whether it's football or basketball or both on the next level remains to be seen. Right now Johnson is focused on trying to win a state championship and finding enough time to get some rest before the next game, practice or trip. No matter the outcome this season and next, Jackson said if his star junior continues to do the things he's done to this point then everything else will take care of itself.

"He's a great quarterback as well as a great basketball player," Jackson said. "If he stays on point I think he's going to have a great choice of which sport he would like to play."

Carver (25-3) will face Enterprise at 10:45 Friday morning at the Acadome on the campus of Alabama State.

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