The best offensive lineman in the country?

The attention for one of the country's best lineman is what you would expect. Calls from us busy bodies, visits to his school from coaches and let's not even get into the mailbox, that was long ago, far too small to house the barrage of letters, brochures and media guides he gets everyday. That's the life of offensive lineman Carl Johnson and he knows that this is all just a warm up right now.

As his own spring ball winds down, Durham, North Carolina's Carl Johnson knows that for him, things are hardly going to go back to normal everyday life. Well, it might be normal for him, but for most high school students, his idea of calm is hectic to say the least.

"It gets kind of crazy sometimes," Carl said of the attention. "The calls, visits, letters, you kind of have to laugh sometimes, just because this is all for you."

It's been that way for sometime, though, the 6 foot, 6 inch, 335 pound lineman touted as one of the best ‘bigguns" in the country. From five offers, to ten, 15, then over the 20-mark, it isn't about having choices, it's about choosing from the ones he has.

But, not right now.

"I'm not thinking about looking at any certain schools," Carl said. "There's just so many options right now, I haven't even begun to think about who has what and all that, plus I haven't had a real opportunity to get to know all the coaches."

While Carl would be the first to say that he doesn't dwell on it, but he does think not about the ones that have offered, but the teams that haven't. Not out of arrogance, mind you, but when you have twenty schools in, even Johnson wonders what is keeping others out.

"Maybe I don't fit what they do or they don't need linemen, but sometimes I wonder why certain schools haven't offered," he said. "It's not like I think I am that good, but you have all these other offers, so it's just something that crosses your mind."

You can forget ability, as the offers themselves prove that this young man can play. You can also forget athleticism as any player his size that can run a 5.0/40 is quick and fast enough to suit your purposes to a tee.

Oh, and don't even think about attitude, because if you are a defender, lineman or whatever, you'll find that's the last thing Johsnon needs to address. "Nobody likes getting beat, but I look at it more like being humiliated," Johnson said. "If you win, I'm going to be humiliated, but I'm not going to let that happen."

"I'm out there to beat you, but I'm trying to humiliate you to and if you are out there in the open, it's highlight film time."

Even as a man of the trenches, Carl knows something about highlights, but a highlight to you and I is simply another day on the job for him.

That brings us back to spring ball, a time of year where you once again throw on the helmets, look at where you were at and where you have yet to go. If you think Johsnon was the focus last year, the up-coming season should be all of that and more. "There's a lot of young guys on this team this year, so a lot of people have to step up, including me," he said. "So, whatever I did before, I have to do more this year."

Pity the competition.

That goes with recruiting as well, but the thing is, everyone is the competition, nobody with a clear idea as to who has the upper hand. According to Carl, it's nobody, not even Florida, the one school he is unofficially visiting this summer. Of course, the visit takes place as the family vacations in Naples, just a hop, skip and a jump from "The Swamp" in Gainesville.

Ok, so if there is no leader and we cover Nebraska, being the North Carolina native that he is, it's not probably how much he knows about Nebraska, but if he knows about the Huskers at all. Well, since the changeover in staff, along with their offensive philosophy a little over a year ago. "Well, I don't know that much about Nebraska, other than some of their history, but my mom's boss is Husker crazy," Johnson said. "He's originally from Omaha and he is all corned out. The guy is Nebraska nuts."

There you have it, the end all, be all of the Huskers' place in his mind right now, but guess what, that's everybody and everybody is going to become even more bodies over the future. Adamant that this is a process that will take all the time it needs, all the effort it must have and all the devotion he can give it, there's no reason to be in a hurry in expecting a decision, especially if Johnson can and does make the U.S. Army All-American game, the only question there regarding whether he's allowed to considering that he plans on enrolling in college in January.

Either or, time if your friend, but it's not Johnson's, because as slow as it will go for the average sports fan, the more offers he gets, the faster it's going to go for him. That will make for a very interesting year, his last at the prep-level. That in and of itself is a mixed blessing.

"It's my last year of high school and I want to enjoy it," Carl said. "During the season, I don't even want to think about recruiting, but I know that's going to be next to impossible."

"I'll figure it out, though, and it's fortunate that I have these kinds of opportunities, but I am going to try and enjoy everything as much as I can."


Big Red Report Top Stories