Johnson to NC State

Valley Forge Military College star athlete Clem Johnson informed Pack Pride that he has verbally committed to NC State.

Regarded as the top offensive player in his conference the past two seasons, Valley Forge Military College star athlete Clem Johnson has committed to NC State.

"I committed to NC State on my official visit this weekend," said Johnson. "I have a great opportunity to play right away. I'm the only junior college guy they are bringing in except for defensive linemen.

"The depth chart looks good at safety, and they have some younger guys but they don't have much experience. I love the campus, and the coaches were great. I met some of the other guys they had in on visits and they were all cool. They had in Mike Glennon, and he was impressive. He's a big-time quarterback, and it's going to be fun playing with him."

Johnson had his share of options. He originally verbaled to Temple as the Owls recruited him hard out of Carlisle High School. Academic issues forced Johnson to attend junior college before his prep career even ended.

"I had a lot of core work to do so my recruitment in high school never really started. Colleges from all over the east coast were recruiting me, but they all knew I had to go to junior college."

At 6-foot and 190 pounds, Johnson starred at quarterback for Valley Forge Military College. In two seasons, he led his team to a 15-3 record, including a 7-2 mark in 2007. He won several awards for his play on the offensive side of the ball, but he got a look defensively late in his sophomore season after asking his coaches to play some defense.

"I was our league's Offensive Player of the Year and first-team quarterback both of my seasons here," said Johnson. "Because we ran the option my coach didn't want me to play defense, but I kept asking him to let me play some.

"I played on that side my final three games and was a lockdown guy. I also started to return kicks and took my first one back for a touchdown. That's another thing with NC State. They lost their kick returner, and they told me there is going to be an open tryout for that position. That is something else I can do."

Johnson secured offers from West Virginia, Arkansas, Central Michigan, Akron, Temple, and North Carolina State before verbaling to the Wolfpack. Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson was recruiting him extremely hard to play quarterback in his option-based attack (the offense Johnson directed at Valley Forge), but the talented athlete felt he had to play a different position on the next level.

"Georgia Tech wanted me to play quarterback, but I'm not really interested in that," said Johnson. "Not on that level... I want to get to the next level, the NFL, and that I think can happen at defensive back.

"I have a natural ability to play defensive back. Throughout my whole career I've been on offense but, when I've played defense I've been a lockdown guy and made a lot of plays."

Johnson had a visit scheduled with West Virginia for this weekend. Will he still take the trip?

I had a visit set up with West Virginia this weekend but now that I've committed I'm not going to West Virginia," he said. "I told coach [O'Brien] that I was committed, and he was very happy. He congratulated me and said he was ready for me to get back down to NC State and get to work."

Johnson has already informed Temple of his decision.

"I'm an athlete, and Temple wanted me to play running back," he said. "But in the back of my mind I always felt it was best for me to play on the defensive back.

"The thing with Temple that helped me with my decision was the offensive coordinator just joined the Miami Dolphins. I was really close with him through my high school coach so I was disappointed that he wouldn't be there. I've already talked with Temple and told them I'm now committed to NC State."

Johnson sees an opportunity to come in and play early at NC State, and that is appealing.

"They lost their starting safety to the NFL so they need an older guy to come in and make an impact," he said. "I graduate May 14th, and I'll head down there for the first session of summer school. I want to get down there as fast as I can to get a start.

"I'm happy and my family is happy. It's a good school and I'll get a degree from a real good school. My mom and sisters are happy for me."

Johnson will host coaches from NC State tomorrow and will sign with the Wolfpack next Wednesday. A junior college product, he will have three years to play two seasons.


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