UK football fans everywhere can finally begin the rejoicing. Micah Johnson, the 6'2", 250 pound football wunderkind held his press conference in Hopkinsville on Thursday and confirmed the rumors that he had committed to the University of Kentucky. The Fort Campbell star made a day of it, as it was announced later after his press conference that he had been named Mr. Football in the state of Kentucky for the 2005. After an entire week of rumors flying around about his commitment, and his mother accidentally letting the cat out of the bag, Micah talked about what happened. "Rumors were flying," said Johnson, "that I had already committed when I was there for the Tennessee game. I hadn't, and I didn't even notify the coaches until Wednesday. I would have liked to have waited until the all-star game, but I went ahead and did it now."
His head coach at Fort Campbell, Shawn Berner said that going to a good coaching staff was a factor for Micah, among other things. "I think that he has a good shot at playing and being an impact at a major college program," said Berner. "I think that's important to him. And also important to him, is being with his brother (Christian, a starting offensive lineman at the end of the season for Kentucky) and being close to his family. They are a very close family and that's special to him." Micah mentioned how it was a comfort factor for him. "I felt most at home at Kentucky. I think that in that environment, an environment where the coaches care, then I'll be able to push when times get tough, and I'll be able to perform at my best." Was playing with his brother a factor? "I can't say that was not a factor," said Johnson. "Me and my brother are real close, so the opportunity to play with him, and the possibility of my other brother (Nathaniel, who will possibly walk on to Kentucky this spring from a junior college) coming there, it was a great opportunity for me. UK has a lot more to offer than just my brothers playing there, but that did play a big role."
For those who are against the fact that UK administration retained the services of head coach Rich Brooks for another season, Micah has a message for you. It Brooks and his staff has not been kept, he wouldn't be coming to Kentucky. "It was big," admitted Johnson. "I honestly think that maybe if the coaching staff would have changed, then I probably would have gone somewhere else. It was big for me that the coaching staff remain the same." Who was the runner-up in the Micah Johnson sweepstakes? Where would Micah have been going if the coaching staff had been let go? "Georgia," Johnson flatly stated. "Georgia was probably the second most comfortable place I felt. I loved the coaching staff there. Georgia would have been the other school, if I had to choose another."
Both Johnson and Berner see Micah as the middle linebacker for the Kentucky defense, with a possibility of seeing some time on both sides of the ball. Offensively Berner likes the skills Johnson has in the offensive backfield. The sky is the limit according to Berner. "He's yet to reach his potential," said Berner. "Obviously, he's going to further develop his skills. I think the biggest thing, the biggest transition for most kids, is catching up physically, and getting in the weight room, plus understanding the difference in the speed of the game. I think you can take a couple of those factors out for Micah. I think weightroom wise, the kid benches over 400 pounds, he's 6'2" and 250 pounds, his speed is great and will continue to improve, so he's already at the level of some of those guys. So the speed of the game he'll have to get used to, but the kid is a worker, and I think he'll make an impact right away."