It was a wide range of emotions for Bobby Johnson over the weekend when he picked Kansas as his school of choice. The 6-3 290 defensive lineman from Kansas City, Mo experienced excitement, joy and pride, but perhaps the most noticeable of all feelings was a great sense of relief.
“My commitment has relieved a lot of stress,” Johnson admitted. “I was already set on KU, but I didn’t know how to tell the other schools that. So, I was going through a stressful process. It took a lot of stuff off me by finally committing.
The “other schools” were Missouri, Tulsa and Wyoming and according to Johnson, all had offered him a scholarship. Despite their offers and the many sales pitches Johnson listened to, in the end he was sold on Kansas for a long list of reasons.
“The atmosphere at KU impressed me the most,” Johnson said of his visit. “Also, how friendly the people were (impressed me). I knew that KU would be a good place for me to attend. It was great to see that I fit in with team and at the school.”
The atmosphere at the KU vs. Pacific basketball game also caught Johnson’s eye.
“Allen Fieldhouse is really loud and really fun. It was my first college game ever and it was great. I was really impressed with the fans.”
A comfortable feel around the Kansas coaches also helped Johnson pick KU.
“I’d met them before but really enjoyed them over the weekend,” Johnson admitted. “They made me really feel at home and part of the team already. That was really helpful.”
So, too, was KU’s strong academic reputation.
“I think I can get a lot out of the school,” said Johnson. “KU is known for high graduation rates and everything. It all goes together, a good school with a good football program.”
When Johnson went to add it all up he found a football program on the rise, led by coaches he could trust at a university with an impressive academic reputation. Those three factors were enough to sell him on Kansas, but then the accessibility to his hometown of Kansas City made the Westport High School star firmly convinced that Kansas was the spot for him.
“I’m only 45 minutes away,” Johnson said excitedly. “It played a big part in my decision. I can go home any time I need to. Whether it’s problems at home or any else, I can get back if need be.”
The 45 minute jaunt from Lawrence to KC is, indeed, a path that will become very familiar to Johnson over the next few years. Mark Mangino and his staff already have it down though, and made that same journey again on Monday night for a follow-up visit with Johnson and his family.
“It was a real fun little visit, an in-home visit. It was good to see coach again. I really enjoyed it.”
As fun as the last few days have been for Johnson, the star senior knows that it will soon be time to get back to work if he wants to live out his dream to the fullest. The future Jayhawk has high aspirations and has already set big goals for his Kansas career including playing as a true freshman and breaking records later in his career.
“Tell you the truth, I think with the hard work I’m going to give, with all that hard work, I think I’m going to play my first year. If I don’t start, I’ll be a really strong backup. I plan to go in and just do my job in the class room and on the field as well.”
Johnson believes his work ethic is one of his strongest attributes and so long as he continues to put in the same effort, one day he could achieve great things at Kansas while playing at his favorite position.
“Personally, I prefer to play defensive end. I’m quick off the ball and can get to the quarterback. I think I can set a new record at Kansas for sacks. That’s what I’m hoping to do.”
A run at Algie Atkinson’s career sack mark of 24 is still several years away, but that doesn’t mean Johnson can’t start dreaming now. In fact, Johnson’s has been dreaming of his first season as a Jayhawk for quite some time and he knows it’s going to be a good one.“I really think the Kansas football team is coming up and by next year we’ll be a really good football team.”