2016 Intro: Patrick Johnson

Illinois coaches hit the recruiting trail full-force this spring, and they weren't focused solely on 2015 prospects. One of their stops led them to The Bullis School in Maryland to offer a rising junior defensive back.

Illinois recently reached into the Maryland/D.C. area to land Reggie Corbin of Gonzaga Prep. The Illini have restored some of their presence in the DMV area recently, and one target who has already received an offer is 2016 Bullis School (MD) defensive back Patrick Johnson, formerly of McKinley Tech.

Interestingly enough, Johnson does have some ties to the Illinois program already through one of the current players.

"I'm actually going to work out with Martize Barr soon," he said. "Tez and I have the same trainer. I met him when I was an incoming freshman and we've been cool ever since. He pushes me to get better."

Illinois dropped into Johnson's future school, The Bullis School, last week. After playing the first half of his career at McKinley Tech, Johnson explained the move to Bullis.

"I'm going to Bullis for the small college atmosphere and to play with guys like Dwayne Haskins Jr., Jonathan Holland, and Devonte Williams," he said. "They said I'd play WR and DB, but they have some tremendously talented athletes, so we will see. 'Wherever they need me' has always been my motto."

Though he could end up a lot of places next season in high school, Johnson expects to play in the defensive backfield in college.

"I think my money will be at DB, but I train at both DB and WR," he said. "I rotate days by doing one first over the other. I do lots of footwork drills, route running, and man coverage technique training."

Johnson feels that versatility helps him fit into a lot of different systems on the defensive side of the ball.

"At (McKinley) Tech, we played more man in a 4-2-5 scheme," he said. "I was in charge of calling all coverages. I like playing man more because it's all about me and him."

He continued, "At Bullis, I think it will be more zone, but I have to wait and see. I think I can play both well."

Illinois was the first to offer the 2016 prospect. For now, the Illini remain his lone offer, but with campus coming up, he feels he has a chance to prove himself and collect more.

"I think I'm close on a few, but that might just be wishful thinking," he said, laughing. "I have several camp invites from SEC, Big Ten, AAC and ACC schools. A lot of those schools like my film, but no offer yet.

With the Illinois offer in hand, Johnson wants to trip to Champaign at some point to see the school in person.

"I definitely plan on visiting Illinois this summer and hopefully I make it to the Illinois homecoming versus Minnesota in the fall," he said. "I also went to Virginia Tech's spring game and plan on camping there next weekend. I'm going to a Maryland camp on Sunday."

Johnson was excited when he got the news of his offer from the Illinois coaching staff.

"Coach (Tim) Banks and Coach (Al) Seamonson were the coaches that brought me the good news," he said. "I like the academics, the tradition. This year will be the 104th homecoming. They have also had success in the DC area and it's Big Ten football!"

As for his educational plan, Johnson is mulling the field of engineering. He knows it will be tough but he's up for the challenge.

"I would like to get a degree in engineering, but we will see how that works out," he said, "That's a heavy load along with football. I know Illinois has a darn good engineering program and is one of the top academic schools in the Big Ten."

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