UM in Good Shape For Johnson

Being a high profile recruit can be fun. Then it can get annoying. The it can get downright hectic. That's what Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson linebacker Josh Johnson has experienced. "At first I thought it was great that I was getting all this attention," Johnson said.

"It kinda was an indication that I was one of the best players around. I knew people would be watching me closely so it just made me work that much harder."

Johnson, 6-2 and 225 pounds, emerged as one of the top linebacker prospects in the entire country.

"I wish I could have played in that all-star game," he said. "I never really heard from them. That's OK because I got to play in the North/South game. I'm done, that's it. The next time I play will be in college. I think I'm ready."

The standout linebacker has been working hard inside the weight room in recent weeks.

"I've been working out a lot," he said. "I do it sometimes in gym class and then I do it after school. I'm just trying to be in top shape so I'll be ready when I get to college."

Speaking of college, Johnson is facing a very difficult decision. He's being recruited by some of the nation's top programs.

"I've been on visits to Miami, Georgia, and Florida," he said. "I go to Tennessee this weekend. Then I'll be able to sit down and figure everything out from there."

When Johnson returned from his visit to UM, rumors began going around that he had committed to the Hurricanes.

"Since I'm still taking my visits and I still haven't figured out where I'm going for sure, it's hard to say I'm a commitment or anything like that," he said. "I do like Miami a lot. My brother lives in (Fort) Lauderdale. Miami is one of the best programs in the nation. They've made it seem like they really want me and I've gotten along real good with the coaches. They're still high on my list."

Johnson has taken visits to Georgia and Florida since my last conversation with him.

"Georgia was tight," he said. "My boy Mike (Grant) is committed to them now. It's right here but the thing is, they got a bunch of linebackers. That really was a big thing at first but it's not that big a deal anymore. Some of them are having trouble learning the position.

"Florida was fun too. I was hanging out with Channing (Crowder, a former Georgia prep linebacker himself) and he said it's great being there. The coaches made me feel comfortable. I'll make the visit to Tennessee this weekend and then I'll start narrowing it down even more."

Johnson had an in-home visit with UM's coaches earlier this week. "Florida's coming tomorrow and Tennessee's coming tomorrow. It's like all these coaches are here all the time. It gets pretty crazy."

The talented defender isn't ready to name a favorite but did say he's been checking depth charts in the meantime.

"With Miami, the sheet says they have seven (on the roster) including the (commitments)," he said. "I think I'd be able to play early there, though. That's not a big deal at all."

Johnson, who ended our conversation by answering a call from the UM coaches, said he'll announce his final decision sometime around signing day.

Canes Time Top Stories