LSU Visits Johnson

C.J. Johnson was once committed to Mississippi State, but now the four-star linebacker is back on the open market. Down to three schools, the LSU coaching staff made their in-home visit with Johnson and his mother on Monday.

The numbers in LSU’s 2011 class are tight, but C.J. Johnson is a name that the staff hopes to pull late in the game.

A longtime pledge to Mississippi State, Johnson withdrew his commitment and his now focused on three schools: MSU, LSU and Ole Miss.

This past weekend the 6-foot-1, 235-pounder visited Mississippi State, and he expects an in-home visit from the Bulldogs staff this week. He will visit Ole Miss this weekend and then end his tour with a stop in Baton Rouge on Jan. 29.

On Monday, the LSU staff made their push. Head coach Les Miles and assistants Brick Haley, Joe Robinson and Ron Cooper all made the trek to Philadelphia, Miss.

“My mom and I got a chance to sit down with coach Miles and the other coaches for a while on Monday night,” said Johnson. “It was a great visit. My mom was really high on (Miles). We feel pretty comfortable with the coaches down there, and I know everyone on the defensive staff.

“With coach Miles, I just trust him. My mom asked all kinds of stuff about being taken care of if I was far from home, and coach Miles said things that we truly believed.”

The staff sold Johnson, ranked as the No. 4 middle linebacker in the country, on everything from early playing time to the chance at a National Championship.

“Coach Miles said that they are going to compete for the SEC Championship and National Championship next year, and he feels like they are in a spot to come out No. 1,” he said. “The defensive coaches feel like I have the talent to come in and play right away, and that’s big for me. I’d like to play wherever I go.”

While distance was once in play, Johnson feels comfortable with his final three.

“The Mississippi schools aren’t far, and coach Miles promised that LSU wouldn’t be any different. He said I would be well taken care of because his coaches run their program like a big family. Now it’s just about finding where I am comfortable.”

Though committed to the Bulldogs for much of his process, Johnson said the LSU staff never backed away, something that is now paying off in the long run.

“They have been by my side the whole time,” he said. “From coach Chavis to coach Haley to coach Miles, I’ve known all those guys. I went to Junior Days last February and then did Family Day in the summer with the other commitments. I know all those guys from being on those visits.”

Johnson said he remains split on the three schools, and his decision could come on National Signing Day.

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