Jermaine Johnson’s football team at Ellender didn’t win a game last season. While the 6-foot-3, 172-pounder grabbed 36 passes for 890 yards and eight touchdowns, the Patriots inability to land a win across their 10-game schedule offered Johnson little help with getting his name out to college coaches.
If there were ever an under the radar prospect – in a year where Louisiana has experienced a wealth of homegrown talent like the state has never seen – Johnson might be the poster child.
“That’s kind of how it has been for me since I’ve been in high school,” Johnson said. “But people are starting to hear about me now, so I can’t complain. I quit basketball when I started high school so that I could put all my focus on football, and now it’s paying off. It’s a sport I love, and playing in college will be special. So it feels good now that I’m starting to get a lot of love from coaches.”
Though a late-riser on the recruiting scene, Johnson’s offer total has recently risen to six, adding Louisiana Tech to a group that already included Memphis, Kansas and Tulsa, Southern Miss and Utah State.
When he followed up his junior campaign with a strong performance at this spring’s Nike Football Training Camp on the LSU campus, the Tiger coaches turned up the heat.
“Coach (Frank) Wilson has been talking with me a good bit, and he encouraged me to get up there for the July camp so that I could make a move towards an offer,” Johnson said. “(Wide receivers) Coach (Billy) Gonzales and him have come to an agreement that if I can come to camp and put down a strong performance, then I’d be looking at possibly getting that offer this summer.”
The Tigers already have commitments from wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Alonzo Lewis, though Lewis is tabbed as a prospect that could find success on either side of the football. With offers still out to a number of uncommitted out-of-state prospects - as well as Louisiana names likes of Bradley Sylve and Odell Beckham Jr. – Johnson could be the first surprise addition to the class.
“Landing that offer would be great, and since LSU is the hometown team, I can’t pass that up,” said the Houma native. “I know I can test below 4.5 in the forty, and if I do well in one-on-ones, then I think the offer is mine. I’m definitely going up there hoping for good news.”
Johnson was one of a select number of uncommitted in-state prospects invited to LSU's Family Day in June.