Top D.C. QB Takes in College Park

Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) has produced top-level quarterbacks before, most recently current Stanford gunslinger Kevin Hogan, who has made quite a name for himself with the Cardinal. Now, Gonzaga might have the second coming of Hogan on its hands in junior signal caller Nick Johns, a 6-foot-3, 220-pounder who is in the same mold as his predecessor.

Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) has produced top-level quarterbacks before, most recently current Stanford gunslinger Kevin Hogan, who has made quite a name for himself with the Cardinal. Now, Gonzaga might have the second coming of Hogan on its hands in junior signal caller Nick Johns, a 6-foot-3, 220-pounder who is in the same mold as his predecessor.

"I'd say I'm pretty similar to Kevin, and we actually run a very similar offense to Stanford. It's a lot of play-action, a lot of quarterback read-option," Johns said. "Like [Hogan] I like to pass first, but when I get an opportunity to run it, I can take off."

Johns, however, is coming off a season where he played just 4.5 games due to a broken left collarbone, which he suffered during the season. But in those four-plus games, he threw for more than 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns, showing off his big arm for college coaches down the stretch.

"I think my arm power is top notch, and my mechanics are looking very good," Johnson said. "My accuracy fluctuates a little because of my footwork, but I'm going to train, get my footwork right, and hopefully that will lead to a more accurate ball."

So far Johns has already done enough to secure an offer from Virginia, but there are plenty of others ready to pull the trigger. He said Virginia Tech is coming in this week to watch him work out and should be offering after that, while Maryland head coach Randy Edsall and offensive coordinator Mike Locksley are set to watch a Gonzaga workout in late December or early January.

Besides those two, Johns said Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt, N.C. State, Penn State and Rutgers have all been in contact.

"I think I'm going to pick up a Maryland [offer], and hopefully I do," Johns said. "It's close to home and it would definitely be one of my top schools. I really like how close it is, and it's important that my dad see my games. [Current Gonzaga lineman] Richie Petitbon is one of my really good friends, and his dad played there, and he always says good things about Maryland. So that's my connection there."

Johns, in fact, was just in College Park, Md., for an impromptu visit with his teammate, top 2015 cornerback Marcus Lewis. The Gonzaga quarterback said he and his father were invited up to the school in order to take in a practice and meet the staff.

"Last night my head coach [Aaron Brady] called me and said Coach Locksley wants me to come to campus and take in a practice," Johns said. "So me and my dad went in around 8:30 a.m., and we sat in for the quarterbacks meetings with Coach Locks and all the other quarterbacks. Then after an hour, he went through all the practice film and quarterback stuff.

"Then me and my dad went into Coach Edsall's office, and we talked about how everything was going, and he was telling us about the Maryland program. After that we went to practice, walked around with Coach Locks and watched team drills."

The Gonzaga quarterback said he thoroughly enjoyed his stay and the meetings were particularly informative. He said he enjoyed watching the Terps practice because it reminded him of his own high school practices.

"Coach Brady actually tries to copy Coach Edsall. Our practices are very organized, and we often get compliments from college coaches about how organized we are," Johns said. "So I think Maryland is great, and it's a great coaching system."

Johns has been in College Park around four or five times now. Not only did he take in a couple games during the fall, but his team actually played in Byrd Stadium twice, once for an early-season event and again in the playoffs.

"I really enjoyed the atmosphere there, the stadium, the fans. C.J. Brown, he's a great quarterback, and the way he plays, the zone-read, that's similar to what we do, so I could fit into Maryland's offense," Johns said. "And it's a great campus, it's a very nice place, and it's close to home. They have a lot going for them."

Johns went on to say that he thought his teammate, Lewis, enjoyed his stay as well. Lewis, of course, recently decommitted from Virginia Tech and is a top Terps target.

"I know Marcus likes Maryland a lot because it's close to his home too," Johns said. "It's like 10 minutes from his house. … But he seemed like he really liked being there [Dec. 7] too."

The D.C. signal caller doesn't have any other trips planned, but he did attend games at Virginia, Pittsburgh, Penn State and Vanderbilt this fall. He said he has no current leaders and is just trying to work back into top shape while securing as many offers as possible.

"I just got back from my injury, so I'm starting to work out, get into things, work with my coaches," Johns said. "I'm going down to Florida actually for the Under Armour combine, and I'm preparing for that. And it'll be really fun because me and my dad and grandparents are heading down a week early to play some golf and things. It'll be a lot of fun."

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