Johnson evaluates Georgia visit

The JUCO defensive end took his official visit to Athens this weekend. How did it go?

When four-star defensive lineman Toby Johnson returned to Kansas Sunday, the Georgia native still had a home-state school on his mind.

Johnson, who plays at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College, arrived in Athens for an official visit to the University of Georgia Friday and left with the Bulldogs leading the pack for his services.

"It went real well," said Johnson, who described the environment in Athens as ‘laid back.' "I loved it down there."

His host was fellow Atlanta native Garrison Smith, but the 6-foot-3, 296 pound Johnson spent much of his trip with the entire Georgia defense, which gave Johnson a special treatment.

"I got to meet Alec (Ogletree) and all those boys," said Johnson. "They treated me like family. They already knew who I was. It was crazy."

While in town, the defensive end was also able to experience the Gala, Georgia's end-of-the-year banquet, Saturday evening, and the black-tie event left Johnson impressed.

"(The Gala) went real good," said Johnson. "It was pretty nice."

One aspect of the Gala that stood out to Johnson was the wealth of awards handed out.

"The thing I liked about the Gala was that they gave basically everybody on the team an award," said Johnson. "Even a few redshirts and backups got an award."

Johnson, who recently had surgery to repair an ACL tear, had originally intended to graduate from Hutchinson this month and enroll at the school of his choice in January, but as Chad Simmons reported Dec. 5, those plans have changed. He will now graduate in May and enroll at his next school in June.

Johnson had the chance to speak with a current Georgia defensive lineman this weekend about the setback and his adjustment from junior college to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level.

"I got to talk with big John (Jenkins)," said Johnson. Jenkins, the Bulldogs' All-SEC nose guard, arrived at Georgia in the summer of 2011 by way of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. "He knows what I'm going through right now."

Despite suffering the ACL injury, Johnson is still hearing from a number of different schools. In fact, newly-hired Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn stopped by Monday to let the former Banneker High playmaker know he was wanted.

Johnson said "everyone," including Auburn, is still in play for his services, but he admitted he has a leader.

"I'm going to take all my visits before I do anything, but right now, Georgia is my favorite school," Johnson said.

Johnson plans to take official visits to Mississippi State and Missouri in the near future, and after Malzahn's visit Monday, Auburn may receive a visit from Johnson as well. He also said he will "probably" make a return trip to Athens when he gets home to College Park for Christmas Break in a week.

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