It's still early for the 2015 class, but LSU has made its intentions clear that elite athletes are the top target. If they can play RB, that's even better.
Kerryon Johnson fits both of those molds. Johnson has been on the staff's radar for quite some time, and LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis stopped by his school last week to meet with him.
During that short conversation, Chavis informed Johnson that he had an offer from the Tigers.
"That was the first time I'd ever met him," Johnson said. "He said we couldn't really talk because I'm a sophomore, but he just said it was nice to meet me and get a look at me. He'd like to get me down to LSU some time. He let me know I have an offer from them. That was pretty much the conversation."
Johnson does just about everything for his team at Madison (Ala.) Academy. He played both sides of the ball in 2012 and helped lead his team to a state championship. Madison capitalizes on Johnson's speed and athleticism, and that's what LSU hopes to take advantage of too.
For now, the staff likes Johnson as either a RB or a DB, and though Johnson has a preference, he's open to both spots.
"I prefer running back," Johnson said. "I just feel like I'm at my best when I have the ball in my hands am making plays. I just feel like that's where I'm best, where I'm most comfortable…Offensively, I have great playmaking ability. On defense, I hope to get to 6-foot, about 215 pounds, and for a DB that would be great size."
Johnson said he measures 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, but he does have plenty of room to grow with two years left in his high school career. Only a sophomore, Johnson already holds seven offers, including LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Vanderbilt.
LSU was the most recent addition to his list that will certainly grow over the coming months.
"It's definitely a blessing," Johnson said. "It's very humbling too. It's also a reminder that you don't want to let anybody down. You want to keep pushing, keep grinding."
Even though he isn't all that familiar with LSU, he did say that offer stands out to him.
"I just know the basic stuff," Johnson said. "They have a good program consistently. They have a great running game. The defense is always up there too…They use [RBs] great. They get the ball to them a lot. I think that's a great opportunity."
Johnson plans to have a busy summer, and LSU will be one of his stops when he hits the camp circuit starting next month. He'll also hit Alabama, Florida State, then possibly South Carolina and Auburn if he can squeeze those into his schedule.
That summer tour will also provide him a chance to get a closer look at all of his suitors. He already has a checklist of some of the things he'll be searching for.
"I'll be looking for a great program with a winning tradition," Johnson said. "One that runs the ball consistently that has a stable running game and a stable coach. You don't want to get there for two years then have a new coach. And also the education of course."
Potentially one of the top prospects in Alabama for 2015, Johnson is sure to receive plenty of attention from the in-state schools. He said he already has people encouraging him to stay close to home, but he isn't going to let those outside influences affect his decision.
"There's a lot of pressure," Johnson said. "But just because there's pressure you have to handle it and handle it well. So that's not going to factor into things too much."
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