Pack Building Ties With State's Top Prospect

Carl Johnson is the state's top prospect and a virtual lock for all-american status. He spoke with Pack Pride recently about his thoughts on NC State, the upcoming season and what he'll be looking for on the road to making a collegiate decision.

  • In Focus: Carl Johnson

    OL Carl Johnson from Southern Durham (NC) High School is a virtual shoo-in for next year's US Army All-American Bowl. Pack Pride talked with the potential five-star lineman after his workout at Scout.com's first All-American Bowl combine.

    Johnson is already one of the most highly recruited players in the nation and he talked about what it would mean to him to be selected for the US Army All-American Bowl...

    "It would show colleges that I can compete on the next level. Also, I was thinking about graduating early but if I graduate early, I can't play in the bowl game. So, I've worked too hard over the years not to play in the bowl game so it's too important for me not to do it."

    Even with scholarship offers from around the nation, Johnson talked about whether he still feels the need to prove himself on the field...

    "Yeah, because everything is based on potential. You've got to produce next year. It's not just about the hype because the hype will go only as far as the athlete can take it. Even though I'm highly recruited, that doesn't mean I can take my senior year off because I've got teammates that need me. I've got to play harder this year than I did last year."

    Carl Johnson has attended several NC State games as well as making numerous other unofficial visits. "He gave his thoughts on the Wolfpack program and what stands out about NC State....

    It's a feeling. It's like home over there. Me and coach Amato have a good player-coach relationship. He seems like a guy that's not only concerned with on the field but off the field and the classroom. And then the environment- they just had a down year this year, I mean every team has one but I believe they'll bounce back because of the way coach Amato is and the players he recruits."

    Johnson was previously being recruited by former defensive coordinator Reggie Herring. He'll have one of the Pack's recruiting aces heading up the job in 2005...

    "Coach (Curt) Cignetti and coach Amato will be double teaming me this year."

    Johnson hasn't narrowed his list down to a top five yet but he talked about where the Pack would fit in when the time comes...

    "State will be one of the final teams but I'm not going to take an official visit there because it's only a few minutes away. You know, one of my close friends, AJ Davis, plays there and we hang out a lot. So I don't really see the point of taking a visit because I can come up there and just hang out with him. But they are most definitely one of my highly, highly in-state schools if I decide to stay in-state."

    Living so close to NC State, Johnson has become familiar with several current NC State players in addition to AJ Davis. He talked about the relationship he has with those players...

    "I've played against a lot of the players they have there like DeMario Pressley. I met him and he's a cool guy. I know Mario Williams and all of them seem cool. I never had a chance to sit down and talk with many of the defensive linemen. I did talk with a lot of the ones that play my position. I talked to Derek Morris a whole lot. He was telling me that he was supposed to go to Ohio State but he came to NC State and it was just a good environment. He said it was real good for him because the coach won't let you slack off. He doesn't care how pro-bound you are. That's good because everyone needs to be pushed and it's good that State does that."

    Johnson talked further about the in-state schools he's considering...

    "Right now it's State, Carolina and Duke. That's it. I really don't know anything about Wake Forest because they haven't been in touch with me very much."

    Some insiders felt that Florida State may have held an early lead as far as the out of state schools under consideration. Johnson camped with the Noles last summer and talked about where FSU sits currently...

    "I liked them but they kind of fell off when I was a sophomore because my dad told me I had to look past what's your favorite school because sometimes your favorite school isn't the best school for you. So now I'm just looking at them as a prospect. I'm looking at what they can bring to the table for me and what I can bring to the table for them as far as playing and getting my education."

    Every school in the nation will be trying to find that one "in" to gain the upper hand while recruiting Johnson. He talked about what will be most important to him when it comes time to settle on a future school...

    "I was talking to my mom (about whether distance would be a factor) and she said it didn't matter because she's coming to every home and away game. So distance doesn't really matter. It might matter if I go way across to the west coast because that would have a big impact because she won't be able to travel like she wants to. But what I'm looking at in a university is the player graduation rate. That's very important because I plan on staying all four years- hopefully no injuries so I don't have to stay a fifth year. I also want to look at the prestige they have in the school. I want to make sure it's a good home environment where they treat their athletes well and have good academics."


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