Bloomington, Ind. – When it comes to the Hoosiers' recruiting efforts at quarterback, the IU staff doesn't see a great deal of need to re-invent the wheel.
That's why they've highlighted the name of an ultra-athletic quarterback from Florida - Orhian Johnson. Like current Hoosier quarterback Kellen Lewis, this 6-4, 190-pounder from Gulfport Boca Ciega H.S. is a dual-threat standout from the Sunshine State who is being recruited by a lot of schools as an athlete. Indiana, though, sees him as a perfect fit for its spread offensive attack.
"They tell me I'd fit in really well in their offense," Johnson said. "They have a Florida quarterback now, and if I came there I'd be able to throw and run it like he does."
There's no doubting Johnson's abilities to do both. He had a 100-yard rushing, 151-yard passing effort in his team's spring game against Gibbs H.S., and got his 2007 season off to a good start by throwing for a pair of touchdowns and running for another in Boca Ciega's season opener.
He has great size, 4.5 speed, a 40-inch vertical as well as a great arm, according to Scout.com Recruiting Analyst Jamie Newberg.
"Johnson has the ability to throw all the passes, including the deep out across the field," Newberg said. "Make no mistake about it, his arm strength is impressive. He can also throw with touch when needed."
That's why he's Scout.com's 47th-ranked quarterback nationally, and why Indiana is recruiting him to play under center. Others, though, like his athleticism and envision him as either a wide receiver or defensive back. However it works out, Johnson says he's just pleased to have so many offers to entertain.
"I never really expected any of this," Johnson said. "I feel really blessed for everything that has happened."
What's happened is a lot of schools showing interest and extending scholarship offers. Johnson has offers from Indiana, Ohio State, South Florida, Florida International, Western Kentucky and Kansas, and he said he's just started to receive interest from Tennessee, Memphis, Boston College and Ole Miss.
He said he doesn't have any favorites, instead preferring to keep everyone that has offered on equal footing. He did say, though, that he hopes that he'll be able to come to Bloomington for an official visit.
"I like how their program is running,' Johnson said. "The coaches are really friendly and they are great guys. They had a couple of big wins last year with some young guys, and I feel they are going to make some big steps. We'll see how it plays out."
Johnson's situation, though, won't play out until after his senior season comes to a close. He said he'll likely take his visits in December and January before coming to a final decision.
"I try not to let the recruiting overshadow my team," Johnson said. "They are really important to me and I can't let them down and lose focus."
Eventually, Johnson will have to turn his attention to his college choice, and just how important playing quarterback is to him. Ohio State is among the programs recruiting him as an athlete, while IU, Kansas and Florida International are among those who want him at quarterback.
"Playing quarterback is important because I really like playing quarterback, but I know I can play a lot of other positions as well," Johnson said. "Coaches are smart, so they'll find the best place for me. I can't say I will only play quarterback, I need to go out and make the best of it so I can get on the field."
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