Johnson had apparently seen enough and felt comfortable enough with Maryland to give them their first commitment for the class of 2007 earlier this week. He developed a good rapport with the Maryland coaches and felt it was time to pull the trigger and commit.
“They really seemed interest in me and not just [talking about] me going to the NFL but getting a degree,” Johnson said. “Plus it’s close to home but far enough that I’ll get the feeling of being independent. The coaches are really nice. They feel I’ll be able to start either my freshman year or my sophomore year which I would really like to do. I like to play football.”
Johnson plays both left tackle and nose guard for his high school team and while he’s a gifted athlete (he also plays basketball for Hoboken), his high school coach says football didn’t always come easy to him.
“He was a project for us,” said Hoboken head coach Lou Taglieri. “He got here as a freshman and was always a tall kid but he was 360 pounds when he got here. Right now he’s down to 325 and we hope to play him at about 310 this year. He’s 6-6 and a half. He does a lot of good things on offense. He blocks well to the backside of the quarterback. He’s a hell of a defensive player that plays nose guard or ‘1 technique’ where he’s able to collapse the pocket and he’s got those big ol’ hands. Now where he’s going to [play] at Maryland I’m not sure but he does play on both sides of the ball for us.”
Johnson has made numerous trips to Maryland’s campus on his way to becoming very familiar with the school. Most recently, he and his father visited Maryland during spring practice.
“Basically Maryland was one of the few schools that he really felt comfortable with and the surroundings that he’s used to instead of taking an inner-city kid and sticking him way out somewhere out in the woods where they don’t really feel comfortable,” Johnson’s father said. “It would take them a while to get acclimated to the area. I think he has a good rapport with Coach Sollazzo and basically it’s only three hours away from where we live. He liked the academic environment and he liked the athletic environment at The University of Maryland.”
Johnson projects to either offensive tackle or guard in college. He enjoys his time on the offensive side of the ball.
“I’m a very good pass blocker,” he said. “I have quick feet so I can make it downfield and I’m very good at pulling.” Things he would like to improve upon are “probably my strength, my conditioning and my speed.”
Having already committed to a college, Johnson will use the summer to attend some camps to work on his game and will work out with the Hoboken strength and conditioning program.
In addition to the Terrapins, some of the other schools showing interest in Johnson were Rutgers, Penn State, Boston College, Connecticut, Florida and Georgia. In the end, he just felt most comfortable with Maryland.
Bearthur Johnson Scout.com Profile