Minnesota coaches came to Bradford Academy the final week of the contact period. They offered defensive end TaMarion Johnson a scholarship and he quickly took the Gophers up on their offer of an official visit to campus to see what it was all about.
After a visit that was described as "phenomenal," Johnson chose the Gophers on Tuesday morning. The one-time Miami (Ohio) commit had added additional offers from Iowa State and Purdue, but now gives the Gophers a long, athletic pass rusher and one who will do what is necessary to continue improving.
"They're getting super hard worker," Bradford head coach Ki'erre Gaut says. "I know it sounds cliche, but I've been around him two years and he's done a phenomenal job of working hard and anything we ask him to do, he takes care of. He loves the weight room, so he can easily add weight. He's a leader in the locker room and he's laser focused."
"He came to Bradford Academy with a 2.7. He struggled his first two years at CMA, but he came, got super focused, worked out hard, went to all the camps and took care of business. He knew what he needed to do and he did it. No excuses."
Initially touted as a wide receiver prospect, Johnson's recruitment began seeing a rise when he worked out as a defensive end at summer camps.
He carried that camp success onto th field this year where he was an All-State and All-Metro North selection on the defensive side of the ball.
"This year, he was just unstoppable," Gaut said. "He had 14 sacks and somewhere in the ball park of 48 tackles. He's just an amazing talent on the edge. I've seen his growth and development from his first year to this year. He did a great job. Other teams had to game plan around him because of his length. A lot of coaches from high school to college talk about his get off. He has great ability to get off the ball. He uses his hands well and teams needed two people to try to block him. He was an amazing force and people didn't run to the side he was on."
Soon Golden Gopher opponents may have to employ the same strategy.