Johnny Sears Ready for Ann Arbor

Michigan defensive back signee Johnny Sears of Edison High School in Fresno, Calif., will soon play in his final high school football game. A relative unknown before splashing on the scene with his commitment to the Wolverines, Sears very well could be the coup of the recruiting class of 2005. On Thursday he told the latest on his summer plans, and when he'll head to Ann Arbor.

It's been just over a year since defensive back Johnny Sears of Edison High School in Fresno, Calif., raised the eyebrows of more than a few recruiting fans by announcing his verbal commitment to Michigan -- Sears had never played a down of varsity ball. However, everyone and anyone who has since watched Sears on the field has stated Michigan defensive backs coach Ron English may have scored the biggest coup of the 2005 recruiting season by securing Sears commitment before anyone else noticed.

After a senior season in which he nabbed seven interceptions, returning two for touchdowns, and racking up 103 tackles, Sears has one final game remaining in his high school career. On June 17 he'll play in the annual Fresno City/County All-Star game held at Buchanan Field in Clovis. "We'll be in an all-star uniform," he said. "But I'll be able to wear my (Edison) Winged Helmet. I'm trying to find an "M" sticker to put on it during the game."

On Thursday, Sears spoke with about his summer plans. "We're practicing for the all-star game now," he said. "It feels good to be out on the football field again. We'll put the pads on for a scrimmage on Saturday, which is the first time we'll be hitting. I am planning on being in Ann Arbor on July 5. I can't wait."

There has been some chatter regarding whether Sears will need to take summer school classes in order to raise his grade-point-average in order to qualify. However, this doesn't appear to be the case. "I am taking the ACT on Saturday morning," he said. "If I get a good score than I'll be qualified. I know I'll do it. I'm not taking any summer school classes. I have to be ready to go this fall, Coach English is telling me they're going to need me to play right away."

A 6-foot-1, 170-pound player during the season, Sears has since added weight, according to Tiger defensive backs coach Tony Perry. "He's up to 185 now," Perry recently told GBW. "And he hasn't lost any speed with the weight gain."

That will be a relief to Michigan fans who felt Sears may be a bit small to come in and play right away. However, at the recent California Interscholastic Federation State Track Meet in Sacramento, Sears failed to qualify for the finals in his event, the 110-meter hurdles. Is this an indication that he has, in fact, lost some of his blazing speed as a result of the weight-gain? The answer, according to Sears, is no. "I hit the first three hurdles and it slowed me down," he said. "So I didn't qualify for the finals."

Sears wore the No. 2 in honor of his childhood idle, former Wolverine great Charles Woodson, now with the Oakland Raiders of the NFL. While he would like to keep the number when he arrives at Michigan, he said hasn't yet been told whether that will happen.

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