The Florida Class 5A State Final this Friday looks to be one of the ages. After all, it does pit the USA Today #1 ranked team (Lakeland Senior) against #4 St. Thomas Aquinas (high school of former Hawkeyes Maurice Brown and Aramis Haralson).
When you look at the Lakeland Senior program, what might be most surpising is that until Monday afternoon, only ONE senior on their roster held a division one offer. That was quarterback Billy Lowe, who had been offered by Central Florida.
With that number likely to change after this weekend considering nearly every college will be represnted at the Florida state championships this weekend, the Iowa Hawkeyes got a bit of a jumpstart in offering linebacker Troy Johnson.
"I received an offer from Iowa on Monday afternoon," said Johnson. "It came in the mail, but I haven't gotten a chance to speak with the Iowa coaches since I received it. I believe I'm going to be setting up a visit for December 16th, though."
Hawkeye assistant Coach (Phil) Parker just began showing interest in Johnson three weeks ago.
"I got a call from Coach Parker and he basically just told me that he was interested in me after seeing my film. He told me that he'd be stopping by a practice to come see me play," stated Johnson.
One week later, Coach Parker made his way to Lakeland Senior to watch practice.
"First, he told me that he researchs prospects he is going to recruit very throughly," added Johnson, who stands at 6'2 and 210 pounds. "He said that he had great things about me on and off the field from everybody he talked with. Then, he said he was impressed with my speed on the field and the way I tackle."
It may not just be the way Johnson tackles, but the frequency in which he does. In 13 games this season, Johnson racked up 154 tackles (74 solo); 41 of which were for a loss; and 19 special team tackles. He also recorded three caused fumbles, three blocked field goals, three blocked punts, one pass breakup, and one sack.
After viewing practice, Coach Parker informed Johnson he'd be stopping by the school a week later, but the visit ended up taking place in Johnson's home.
"I had an orthonodist appointment so Coach Parker stopped by my house before the appointment. He told me a lot about the great people they have up at Iowa and the fact that I'll have a chance to play soon there. He told me they have two All-Americans graduating, one of which is considered a for sure first round draft pick," stated Johnson.
"North Carolina State called last week and spoke with my mother," stated Johnson, who also competes in basketball and baseball. "They said they'd be calling back again, but that they were interested."
Everything has happened so quickly for Johnson in seeing Iowa's interest in him rise, but he likes what he has seen thus far.
"I really like what I have heard about Iowa so far. Really, I just have to make sure that I feel comfortable there on the visit if I'm going to travel that far from home. I want to check out the surrounding area to make sure I have things to do outside of football, and really just see how I fit in with the people up there," said Johnson.
Johnson holds a 3.8 GPA and scored a 940 on the SAT.