Originally recruited to Grambling State University out of Los Osos High School, quarterback Stephen Johnson II has earned several new scholarship offers after a standout season at the College of the Desert.
He finished the 2015 season with 3,210 yards and 34 touchdowns to the air compared 7 interceptions, while adding 429 yards and 8 touchdowns on the ground. He was most recently offered by Kentucky and Hawaii - he also holds offers from Arkansas State, Eastern Michigan, Lamar, Morgan State, and Florida A&M.
Johnson and new Hawaii Head Coach Nick Rolovich first crossed paths at a camp at Narbonne High School in the spring of 2015. Since taking the UH job, Rolovich and offensive coordinator Zak Hill reached out to Johnson and set up an official visit on Dec. 11.
“It was a quick visit, Saturday to Sunday,” Johnson said. “I really enjoyed it. I loved my visit while I was there. It’s a beautiful place and it seems like there is great football there. I didn’t even go on the beach. My mindset while I was there was that it was a business trip. No parties or anything like that, just sitting down with the coaches to talk about philosophy and schemes to find out if it would be the right spot for me.”
The highlight of his trip was talking offense with Hill, and what his future would hold if he committed to UH.
“Coach Hill, he told me they would be running the same type of offense as he was running at Eastern Washington - a high-tempo, throw the ball around the field maybe 50-60 times a game, and just fast-paced,” Johnson said. "That’s something that really intrigued me when Coach Hill and I sat down.
“He’s a really intelligent coach. When I was there, we went over lots of film. We really went over my highlight tape and went over my reads that I go through during the game. That was really interesting because not many coaches sat down with me and went through my highlight tape and critiqued me. Coach Rolovich also went over his offense at Nevada with me.”
Johnson visited the islands without a scholarship offer, but by the end of December he got the call he was hoping for.
“Coach Rolovich called me just to check in, our conversation was brief, but he told me I had an offer to Hawaii and he’d love to have me,” Johnson said.
As a two-for-two junior college prospect, an opportunity for playing time is a high priority for Johnson and UH could be a landing spot where he could earn an immediate spot.
“They didn’t guarantee me a starting spot, but they said it would be a great place to come in and compete and that I can ball out there while I’m there,” Johnson said. “I’m a dual-threat quarterback. I like to pass first, but I definitely don’t mind using my legs. I try to play like Cam Newton. I’m about 200 pounds, but I play like I’m 240.”
Johnson’s visit to Hawaii was his second official visit. He first visited Morgan State. Since being offered by UH, he has also added an offer from Kentucky. He plans to visit UK on Jan. 14.