Johnny Carlson is fully recovered from a torn hamstring that he suffered at the Nike Camp in Ann Arbor, Michigan this summer. He suffered the injury while running the 40-yard dash, and despite hopping across the tape still managed to post a 4.7 time.
Carlson also attended the elite 11 camp in California, where he did not participate in sprints but was able to throw.
He committed to the Golden Gophers for several factors.
"It is in the Big Ten, which is an excellent conference. It is close to home. They have had good recruiting classes the last two years. They have a good chance to have success this year and when I get there."
Carlson knows that the Gophers are also recruiting other players at his position such as in-state products Tony Mortenson of Hutchinson and Liam O'Hagan of Breck. However, he is not concerned about the competition.
"I always wanted to play QB. I'm going in as a QB. They have two senior quarterbacks and like to have five quarterbacks on the roster. They are recruiting two or three this year. They are looking at athletic quarterbacks who can play other positions if it does not work out."
Coach Mason asked Carlson about what other positions he wanted to play.
"I told him I wanted to play quarterback, and he told me that you'll have to be the one to move yourself to another position."
Carlson has high hopes for Hopkins this year after what he called a "disappointing" junior season in which the Royals finished 4-5.
"We have a good chance to do well in our conference. We have a lot of good juniors who are filling in some holes for us."
The Royals run mostly a shotgun offense, which relies on three wide receivers. The team returns just one starting receiver and has a new running back, who Carlson has high hopes for.
Carlson said that the offense looked good this past Saturday in a scrimmage that also featured Park of Cottage Grove, Highland Park, Blake, Edison and Patrick Henry.
Carlson has been the team's quarterback since he was a sophomore. He passed for 22 touchdowns and more than 2,500 yards, completing 60 percent of his passes last season. He ran for seven touchdowns and finished the season with 300 yards rushing. As a sophomore, he passed for 1,500 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also had 800 yards rushing and scored eight touchdowns on the ground.
He played defensive end earlier in his career, but he has played only on the offensive side since high school. His 4.5 speed and strength could make him an excellent safety.
Carlson was an excellent hurdler early in his career. He finished 11th in 110 hurdles as a freshman and sixth as a sophomore. He was ranked No. 1 in the state before suffering a hamstring injury.
Carlson attended the recent Gopher scrimmage and plans to attend all the games this season.
"I plan to go to all the games. We get three tickets, and I plan on bringing some friends."
Carlson is also familiar with several potential teammates.
"I know Lydon Murtha well and I've gotten to know Dominique Barber the last few years."
GoldenSports.Net will have recaps of his games throughout the year. Hopkins opens their season at Buffalo on Friday.