The legend of Anthony “Freak” Johnson grows with each appearance on the gridiron that the junior makes.
During his sophomore campaign, the chatter of New Orleans’ hottest up-and-coming prospect began. In April, Johnson exploded onto the 2011 board with his Most Valuable Player performance at the New Orleans Combine. In June, the 6-foot-2, 296-pound defensive end turned heads in Knoxville at the Volunteers’ camp. The Tiger coaches were equally impressed when they worked Johnson out in July.
Even after O.P. Walker’s season opener against South Plaquemine – led by decorated sprinter Bradley Sylve – the legend continued to grow.
“I caught Bradley one good time, and no one in attendance could believe their eyes,” Johnson said. “Bradley ran a stretch play, and I just gunned him down. It turns out Freak might really be the next Usain Bolt.”
For now, Johnson will stick to football. And after Tuesday, the future on the college front is bright.
Though committed to Lane Kiffin’s Tennessee squad, Johnson said that he remains as open as an uncommitted prospect would be with his approach – and that is just how the LSU staff is taking to his recruitment.
“I told the coaches to recruit me hard because I was open, and they have,” Johnson said. “I talked to coach Brick [Haley], Larry Porter and Miles today, and they all told me that I was somebody that they needed. Each one of them let me know that I needed to just keep doing what I am doing, and everything would work out for me.
“I have two years before I have to make a final decision, and I made sure to let coach Miles know that is how I felt.”
After the Tigers’ July camp, when Johnson had the chance to hang around a number of 2011 LSU leans (from Jarvis Landry to La’el Collins), the junior defensive end prospect said that he is growing comfortable with the idea of staying home for college.
“After getting with those other 2011 guys, I see that there is lots of LSU love out there,” Johnson said. “I felt like I really learned a lot about LSU that weekend, even with the staff. All the coaches are cool, and I figured out what they are about, which is just being a group of hardworking of people.”