Louisville offers talented Florida athlete

Louisville evaluated a ton of prospects last week and sent out a batch of offers across the south, including one to Chris Johnson, a 5-10, 185-pound athlete from Ocala (FL) Trinity Catholic. (HIGHLIGHT VIDEO)

Louisville evaluated several positions last week and sent out a batch of offers across the south, including one to Chris Johnson, a 5-10, 185-pound safety from Ocala (FL) Trinity Catholic.

"It was exciting, especially with Charlie Strong coming from a big program," Johnson said of Louisville's offer. "He's going to change that thing around at [Louisville]. He told me his expectations for me and that he liked that I'm a big hitter and physical and thinks I would fit in the Big East."

Johnson was one of the top performers at the UnderArmour combine in Jacksonville, posting a 4.45 forty, along with solid strength numbers. Though he doesn't have great height, he is very physical and possesses outstanding instincts on the field. Johnson spoke with several Louisville assistants last Wednesday – the day he received an offer from the Cardinals.

"I talked to Coach [Vance] Bedford, the DB's coach and Coach [Ron] Dugans," Johnson said. "They want me to visit and I'm going to try to go up there this summer."

Even before Strong sent him an offer last week, Johnson was familiar with Louisville's program.

"There was one year they were just dominating with Brian Brohm as their quarterback," Johnson said. "They had a real good team that year and were competing for the title like every year. They're bringing it back to the Big East. With Coach Strong there I wouldn't be surprised if they were competing for a national title also."

Johnson was a teammate of 2010 four-star wide receiver Kadron Boone, who made an official visit to Louisville before signing with LSU. Though Boone chose the Tigers, he told Johnson great things about the Louisville program.

"I talked to him and he said [Louisville] was nice," Johnson said. "He said recruiting is fun until you've got to make that last minute decision. He ended up at LSU but he told me I'm really going to like that weight room up there and I love being in the weight room. That's my second home, that's what I love to do, work out."

Johnson also is very familiar with Charlie Strong, who was a highly successful coordinator at Florida before taking over at Louisville during the off-season.

"He's an honest guy and he expects a lot out of his players," Johnson said. "He's dedicated and a hard worker. Brandon Spikes was saying he was like a father to him. He's projected to be a top NFL [draft] pick and obviously Coach Strong is doing something right producing players like him."

Louisville and South Carolina are Johnson's only offers at present, but several other BCS programs are interested.

"I know Oregon is interested in me and they're going to offer in May and also USF," the talented safety said. "I've just got to keep working hard and get ready for the spring game and next season."

Johnson probably will have an opportunity to remain in-state to play in college. Is Johnson open to attending college outside Florida?

"Absolutely," Johnson said. "It's going to be my decision in the end and my parents will back me up on it. I wouldn't mind going out of state. I like schools like Louisville, South Florida and West Virginia, Oregon. I'm interested in leaving the state and seeing what else is out there."

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