Coming into the year, Johns was highly thought of, but nobody was prepared for what Johns did this season. Well, nobody but the confident Johns, his teammates and his coach. During the course of the year, Johns threw for over 2,200 yards, rushed for 1,400+ yards, threw 24 touchdowns, ran for 20 more and was intercepted just 7 times. He completed 130 of 200 passes. Plus, he led his team to the 4A Mississippi State championship.
For his efforts, the honors have rolled in. So far, he has earned 4A first-team All-State as selected by the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC), selected the 4A Most Valuable Offensive Player, picked his district's Most Valuable Player. Other honors include channel 12's Athlete of the Year and the Daily Leader Player of the Year. Expect more honors to be forthcoming.
While the media and the high school coaches in the state have taken notice of this extremely talented athlete, college coaches, especially SEC coaches, have as well. His in-home and in-school visits from the coaches prove that.
"Buddy Wyatt from Alabama came in," said Johns. "Jay Hopson from Ole Miss. Coach Croom (from Mississippi State) came in. Coach Beamer comes in once a week. The quarterback coach from Florida came in, but he got terminated. There weren't really any new schools, because I have been telling everybody that I want to stay in the SEC."
The last time I talked to Johns, Auburn and Mississippi State were his co-number ones. This time, he didn't mention Auburn as a visitor. What's happened with them since we last talked?
"I guess they don't want me,"said Johns. "They said they are filled up. Another coach had to tell me that. My head coach and I called them and found out that way. (Their coach) never even told me that they were filled up. He never called me and told me that he wasn't interested in me any longer. I'm not worried about it, though. Whenever I play them, I promise, I'm going to make them pay for it. I kind of took that personally because we had set up a visit and everything."
Speaking of visits, now that Auburn is out of the picture, who will he officially visit?
"I only have three official visits scheduled," said Johns. "I'm going to Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Alabama. I'm going to Alabama on the 7th (of January), Mississippi State on the 15th and Ole Miss on the 28th."
Previously, Johns didn't mention Ole Miss as a team he was interested in visiting. What's happened over the course of the past couple of weeks?
"I didn't feel like Ole Miss was recruiting me," said Johns. "I never got a call from Ole Miss' (Coach) Woods. He never called me. And I just felt like they weren't recruiting me. I told Coach Hopson that I had a bad taste in my mouth about Ole Miss because I felt like I'm the top kid in the state and they weren't even recruiting me. When Jay Hopson started recruiting me, that's when I really started liking Ole Miss. He started recruiting me about two weeks ago. I got a call from (new Ole Miss head) Coach Orgeron today."
What are his thoughts on Orgeron?
"I could tell he knows what he wants," said Johns. "I feel like the way he talks he wants to win. I feel like that will be a good choice if I do decide to go there. He knew my head coach. Anybody that has anything to do with Coach Peavey is a good person."
Another new kid on the block is Alabama. How did they suddenly get in his recruiting picture?
"I had been checking them out," said Johns. "I went over there for Junior Day, so I knew about them. They were kinda of recruiting me, but after the Wayne County game and the (championship game) a lot of people started checking me out."
One team has been recruiting him hard from the get-go, Mississippi State. Where do they fit in his recruiting pecking order?
"Mississippi State is my number one choice right now," said Johns. "No doubt about it, they are still there. If I had to sign today, it is Mississippi State."
Mississippi State has been at the top of his list from the very beginning. What has kept them there?
"I feel real comfortable at State," said Johns. "They have been recruiting me longer than anybody else. And they haven't gone against me. They have stayed loyal. Other schools seem to have rebelled against me. You can't get upset because they know who they want, but I feel like they are making a mistake. So, like I said earlier, everytime I play them, that will be incentive enough for me."
Since State seems to be a clear leader for his signature, has he committed to them?
"No, I haven't committed to anybody," said Johns. "I'm not going to commit until signing day."
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Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at email@example.com.