"I played varsity last year but I played behind a kid who started since his sophomore year," said Johnson. "I played some and when I got in there I made some plays.
"I'm looking forward to playing a lot more this year. I'm going to play defensive end for us... the five-technique."
This year will be a big season for Johnson, a player eager to make an impression and earn scholarship offers.
"I'll be the first person in my family to go to college at a Division-I school," said Johnson. "I've already told my parents and my family that we're having a big party when I get my first offer because it means I'm going to be able to go to college and play football."
Johnson attended several camps this spring looking to showcase what he can do on the gridiron.
"I went to the Adidas Elite Camp at NC State and I went to NC State's college camp," said Johnson. "I also went to the Scout combine, but I ran a bad 40 there. It was the last event and my leg was hurting me.
"At the camps I work hard and go hard every drill. In the one-on-ones I try to beat everybody and use the techniques I learn from the coaches that are there."
Johnson turned heads with his performance at the Adidas Elite Camp, where he battled older offensive linemen and was one of the most impressive defensive linemen in attendance.
|"They saw me at the Elite Camp where I beat about everybody."|
"I think the State coaches like me a lot because of what they saw at that camp," said Johnson. "They saw me at the Elite Camp where I beat about everybody. The only person who stopped me was some five-star lineman. He didn't beat me bad, but he just stopped me on one rush."
He also spent three days at NC State's team camp. It was the only team camp he attended this summer.
"I loved it up at State," said Johnson. "The coaches were real nice and coach Bridge, the recruiter from my area, showed me a lot of attention and helped me out.
"I also like the defensive line coach. He taught me a lot of stuff that I'm going to use. I like how coach O'Brien is not real loud. He sits there and observes... just not real loud. I also like the school, their facilities, and the stadium."
NC State was the first program to start to recruit Johnson due to a connection with the new coaches when they were still at Boston College.
"My head coach knew the State coaches from when they came down and coached in the bowl game down here in Charlotte," said Johnson. "He called them up and told them that he had a kid they need to start looking at."
Johnson, who admits that he has always been a fan of NC State, has been hearing from some other colleges.
"I've always wanted to go to State," said Johnson. "My dad bought me an NC State sweater when I was three and ever since then I liked them. I like the program, and I like how they send a lot of defensive ends to the league.
"I haven't really thought about the other schools really. I've got some letters from Ohio State... I like Clemson, Florida, and South Carolina too."
He recently checked in at 6-foot-3 and 216 pounds, and Johnson believes that he is still growing.
"I want to be about 6'6 and 245 when I go to college," he said. "My dad is 6'8 and 270 pounds and my mom is 5'11 so I think I'm going to keep getting bigger. I'm already bigger than what he was when he was a freshman in college so I'm hoping that I keep growing."
Johnson has yet to earn any early verbal offers as he can't receive official offers until September 1st. He feels that he is on NC State's radar and is hoping to land an offer from his childhood favorite.
"If State came on with an offer I'd be real excited," he said. "If it was up to me I probably would commit to them right then, but I know my family wants me to wait and see who else offers me a scholarship.
"I'm just going to play this season and see what happens. I want to go out there and work hard and make a lot of plays for us this year."