Coach: Christian Johnson to UK

On a day that was supposed to be polluted with news of junior college commitments, the Wildcats received their 16th commitment elsewhere. This time dipping into the prep school ranks with Christian Johnson, a 6-foot-4, 300 pound offensive lineman from Hargrave Academy. Read all about his commitment in this <i>Inside Kentucky</i> exclusive report.

According to his offensive line coach, Brian White, Hargrave's Christian Johnson has verbally committed to the University of Kentucky.

"Yes he has (committed)," White told Inside Kentucky. "Kentucky's been with Christian for some time now and has stuck with him throughout. I think they got themselves a steal."

"They love his size and strength," White said. "He's got great size - about 6'4, but he's close to 300 pounds. Just a big barrell chested guy. He's one of the strongest guys on our team. At the combine last week, Christian benched 225 - 25 times. He's just got big shoulders and a big chest."

And that, according to White, is why the 'Cats offered the talented offensive guard.

"The way Christian moves, he was a big part of our offense last season. We put him at guard and we would have him pull on a lot of our running plays at Hargrave. The way he moves and gets out there so quick, he's athletic enough to handle those linebackers."

Recently, Johnson's stock had hit its peak after the combine.

"They all came down for the combine and all the coaches just loved him. UC, Akron, Buffalo all wanted him, but as soon as Joker and Kentucky came in, it was over."

With combine numbers like the ones that Christian put up, it still remained a mystery why more bigger schools did not offer him.

"I can't tell you why he wasn't recruited by some bigger schools," White said. "I think a lot of people just didn't know he was attending Hargrave. That's another testiment to Joker Phillips, whom is one of the great recruiters in the South. He came in here and found Christian and got him. That's what seperates Joker from the pack. He came in here and found himself a diamond in the rough where nobody else did."

Since his combine performance and commitment, the phone hasn't stopped calling.

"Oh yeah, since that combine we've been getting calls from all over, but it's too late. Christian's decided."

As for his academic work, White is sure that Christian should be fine.

"It's a testament to Christian, he worked so hard from the start," White explained. "We think he's gonna be just fine. He isn't qualified yet, but he's close. He came to Hargrave with a mission - he wanted to play at an ACC or SEC school. He worked harder in the weight room, in the classroom, and on the field. I think he'll be fine academically."

Officially, Christian had offers from Cincinnati, Akron and Buffalo. Michigan, Virginia Tech, and others were interested and involved.

"Unfortunately he won't be able to be a December graduate, but he'll definitely be enrolling in the fall."

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#72 Christian Johnson



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