A Candid Interview With Terrell Johnson

MSU commitment Terrell Johnson and his head coach, Larry Boykin, talk about Terrell's commitment and talk very candidly about the player and the person.

Terrell Johnson Profile Page:


Describe what happened when you committed to Mississippi State?
"I committed Tuesday night. Coach Amos Jones came to my house. And I went ahead and told him then. He was supposed to come earlier but he and Coach Croom had to go to North Mississippi, so he told me that they wouldn't be able to make it. I told him 'ok, but when you come back holler at me because I have some good news for you.' The next day as soon as I got in the door the phone rang. It was coach Jones. He said he was on his way. When he walked in the door, the first thing he asked me was I ready to be a Bulldog. I said yes sir. He gave me a hug. He met my family, my mom, my sister. He's a good guy. I like him. I believe that is the main reason I'm going to Mississippi State. I have such a bond with him, not just as a coach, but as a friend. There's just something about him."

Were there any other reasons you chose Mississippi State?
"I've been to the campus twice to see them play Auburn and Arkansas. I like the atmosphere."

Why did you decide to commit to State now?
"I just figured it was the right time. All of my family and other people who are older than me told me to go ahead and do something now because when the time is up, the time is up. And you could lose everything.

"I didn't want to just be hanging around the house or block doing nothing. I want to make something of myself. That's why I committed. I wanted to get everything out of the way. That takes some of the pressure off of me so I can take care of what I need to take care of."

How do you feel now that you've committed?
"I feel excited. I've been hopping around all day. I tell everybody that I committed last night. Everybody seems to be real happy for me. My folks are happy. There are smiles everywhere. It's going to be hard to leave this behind but I have to do it. I know this is going to be here for me when I get back, but there are better things for me in the future."

What other schools did you consider?
"Arkansas, Memphis, West Alabama, Alabama State. All of those offered me. Louisiana Tech and UAB were calling me. They hadn't offered me, but they were pretty close."

When is your official visit to State?
"It's in January (January 19-21). I'll meet most of my teammates that day. He said I can bring my folks. He'll show them a good time and take them out to eat. He'll let them tour the campus."

What are some things you feel you still need to work on to prepare yourself to play in the SEC?
"I need to get bigger and stronger. I have the height, I just have to fill it up with a little more muscle. I don't worry about my speed. That hasn't been much of a factor because I go to the ball really well. And I read plays well."

You mentioned some things you do well. What do you think your strengths are?
"I have a knack of getting to the ball. That's what I'm good at. I play offense, but I'm a defensive player. Hitting is a thrill of mine. I just like to hit people. I've faced some of the biggest, toughest backs in 2A. I didn't see that. It was just man on man."

What were some things Coach Jones said the MSU coaches like about you?
"He said it wasn't just my strengths on the football field, but also my academics. Academics have been my first priority since the third grade. That was when my folks really got on to me about my grades. Ever since then, my pops has been on me. He's a military man, so I had to shut up or put up."

How are you doing academically?
"I am 7th out of the whole class. I have a 3.3 or a 3.4. The first ACT I made a 20. My second time I made a 22. I am going to take it again because I am shooting to ace it, but I know I'm not going to ace it, so I'm shooting for a 25 or 26.

"It's alright to go to college just for athletics, but I want something behind that. I want to show people that I'm not dumb. You know how they feel about jocks and blondes. They are the dumb ones. But I'm here to tell you I'm not dumb."


When did you first realize that Terrell was a special player?
"When he was in the 8th grade playing junior high ball he was making a lot of plays and showed a lot of energy jumping up and down and being a leader on the field. In the 8th grade he had a growth spurt where he went from 5-7 to 5-11. Then he got up to about 6 feet by the 10th grade. He started working hard with the weights and starting making a lot of plays while he was on our scout team. He went from the scout team to our starting linebacker that quick."

His first year to be a full-time starter, his junior year, he made all-state.
"His junior year he had 153 tackles in 14 ball games. The last linebacker we had that had those kind of numbers was Spencer Johnson who plays defensive tackle for the (Minnesota) Vikings. He played his college ball at Auburn. Demarcus Rogers was another one. He played for Green Bay."

How does he compare to those players? Do you think he has that kind of potential?
"He is not as big as Spencer, but he's faster than Spencer. Once he puts on some weight I think he will be the same caliber as those two guys."

You mentioned his potential as a ballplayer. What are his attributes as a football player.
"Leadership, concentration, always at practice. And he goes to the ball real well."

When did Mississippi State start recruiting him?
"It was last year during the playoffs when they were scouting other ball players from other teams. They got to see Terrell play in several ball games and also got to see him in practice."

When did they offer him a scholarship?
"Last spring."

What honors has he earned this season?
"He was nominated for the (2006) Class 2A lineman of the year. We've had 5 former players who have won that award. If you look at the 2A numbers the past two or three years very few people have done what he has done."

Watch senior video of Terrell.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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