Hawkeye Signee Q&A: AJ Johnson

The Hawkeyes past two signing classes before 2003 resulted in zero running backs. That changed for the better this past Feburary with the signatures of A.J. Johnson and Albert Young. HTO.com caught up with A.J. to gain his thoughts on becoming a Hawkeye. A.J. also shared a good Illini story that you will find amusing!

When it finally was Feburary 5th, tell me the mood of your day?

"It was a relief just to get it over with. I was excited. Now I'm just ready to start playing."

How are you preparing this spring in route to this upcoming fall?

"I'm going over to Proviso East High School after each school day to run with their track team. Their coach, Victor DeBose, is a former track star and is really helping me out. I'm running a lot of 200's, 400's, and 800's. Occassionally I'll run a few miles as well."

Now that its past Signing Day, I'm sure you have recieved a scheduled workout routine from Coach Doyle. What was your first reaction?

"I just recieved it last week. I'm going to start using it next week at the "Powerhouse" gym here in town. I looked at it and knew it was going to be tough, but also knew it'd be getting me stronger. It is a more intense workout, and has more football related lifts."

Are you joining your teammates this summer?

"Yes, I plan on moving to Iowa City at the end of June or early July. I'm going to vacation for a few weeks once school is done. The coaches want me to play, but there isn't much they can say because I have to come into camp and earn it. I plan to get there early to get a better grasp of things. It'll help me become more adapted once camp starts."

So what are you feelings on the 03' Hawkeye recruiting class?

"It's a great class. They got good players at every position, especially offensive line and quarterback. If everyone comes in on the same page, we'll be very good."

Tell Hawk fans what type of running back they should be expecting to arrive, and will you be starting out at tailback?

"Yes, that is where I'm going to start. I like contact. I like to hit people and let them know it. At the same time I have to be diverse, though, as I can't just always run people over. I need to work on my straight ahead speed, but I believe I move pretty well combined with my power."

Are you excited to be joining Albert Young as the two tailbacks in this class?

"Yeah, they told me about him. They said he is a thinner back, a lot like Russell."

After changing your commitment from the in-state Illini to the Hawkeyes, was there any negative feedback at your school?

"I guess as I heard someone had printed out a photo of me they got from a web site and wrote "sellout" on it. Then they signed it with Ron Turner's name. It was kind of funny to me. I love those kind of people."

Does that mean more fuel for the fire when playing Illinois?

"It kind of does as I know a lot of people there. It helps out that I almost went there, too."

Finally, with all these players now of days skipping their last semester in high school, your still planning on attending your prom, right? Have a hot date planned?

"Yeah I'm going. I'm still looking for my date, though, but I'll get one."

Hawk fans have full confidence their tailback will have no problem finding the date of his choice. They also have every hope he'll never have a problem finding a hole behind Iowa's offensive line over the next four years.

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