On Sunday, several of the Midwest's top football prospects converged upon Glenbrook North High School in Illinois to compete and evaluate themselves against the region's best in the Chicago Under Armour regional camp. On hand was Indianapolis product D.J. Johnson, a 4-star cornerback from North Central High School.
"I wanted to prove that I’m one of the best out here and that I can compete with anybody," Johnson said. "I think I’m special and that I can come out and prove that Indiana can produce defensive backs, too, and come out and play today."
Johnson, who holds several Big Ten offers, has several opportunities to play in the conference at the next level. He likes the physicality of the Big Ten and could see himself playing in that league in the future.
"I definitely like the competition," he said. "It’s one of the best conferences out there and I like that. I have length, speed, and I can cover."
Johnson recently named three Big Ten schools as favorites, and on Sunday, he even went so far as to declare one of them a leader. However, he did indicate that he plans to visit all three in the near future.
"Iowa, I really like Iowa right now. They’re probably at the top, and they’re pushing for me hard right now," Johnson said. "Minnesota, they’re building something special there and I’m excited to see what they do this year. Illinois, coach Lovie Smith. Im really excited about him to see how they do. They’ve been talking to me a lot. Coach (Lovie) Smith is a great, and he’s a legend. I’ll probably get to those schools for visits soon."
On top of that group, Johnson has been hearing from another trio of Big Ten programs who are showing increased interest.
"Nebraska, Ohio State, Michigan State are the main three that have talked more to me recently," he said. "I think Nebraska could offer soon."
Fit will be a big factor for Johnson, who emphasized his comfort level with a program as a key factor in his eventual decision.
"Definitely the coaching staff, a place where I feel comfortable and that I can play, and a home away from home," Johnson said. "(I want) a place where I feel like I’ll be put in the best position where I can play and do well."