Johnson Narrows Focus, Sets Visits

LSU verbal commitment Avery Johnson has assembled a top schools list.

With a focus on offensive systems, Johnson, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound wide receiver from Pompano Beach (Fla.) Ely, has trimmed his list of schools under consideration to Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, North Carolina, and Oklahoma.

"North Carolina, I think they're going in a good direction with a new interim head coach," Johnson said. "They're going to throw the ball a lot this year, from what I've heard from the coaches, and they're going to play the best people, regardless of class.

"Georgia, they told me I remind them of A.J. Green, and they're going to throw the ball a lot and I've seen that with A.J. Green.

"And then you have Oklahoma Sooners, they're a passing offense. They're the No. 1 team in the nation, but that doesn't really have anything to do with it. Ryan Broyles speaks for himself; he needs 51 catches to [break the NCAA career record of 316] – that goes to show me they're really going to throw the ball.

"LSU, they have a new offensive coordinator, and he has a history of throwing the ball. I like the sound of that – it's like music to my ears. And they're still moving in a good direction, even though Jordan Jefferson went down. I still believe in LSU that they will have a good season and they will throw the ball this year.

"Florida coach Charlie Weis, he has a good history with quarterbacks and wide receivers. He taught the best quarterback in the NFL, in my opinion, Tom Brady. And he's going to prepare me, if I go there, for the NFL to be a great receiver and get ready for a pro-style offense.

"Florida State, Coach [Jimbo] Fisher is moving that program in a good direction. They have a young team that had a great season last year. And I think Florida State will finish in the top five this year. And they're going to throw the ball this year, as well. If I go there, I'll have a chance to come in right away and hopefully make an impact on that football team."

Well versed in the recruiting process – thanks to the benefit of watching older brother Patrick Peterson, who eventually signed with LSU and was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals last April, go through it – Johnson already has his official visit schedule, plus an unofficial visit, planned out.

"I have it all in my iPhone," Johnson said. "It's in my notes."

Johnson will kick off his official visit schedule with a trip to Georgia next weekend to see the Bulldogs play South Carolina. He'll then officially visit Florida State the following weekend (Oct. 1) for a battle of two of his finalists – FSU and Oklahoma.

After unofficially visiting Florida for the Alabama game, Johnson will attend another battle of his finalists (LSU vs. Florida) when he returns to Baton Rouge for an official trip the weekend of Oct. 8. He's been verbally committed to the Tigers, albeit softly, for a year now.

During the weekend of Oct. 15, Johnson will officially visit UNC.

"I want to see North Carolina go up against Miami up close," Johnson said. "I just want to see the game atmosphere, because it's a big game for both teams."

Johnson will conclude his travels with an official trip to Oklahoma during the weekend of Nov. 5. The Sooners host Texas A&M that Saturday.

Of his finalists, Johnson has previously visited Florida State and LSU. He has also visited Central Florida and Miami.

During each official visit and his unofficial trip to Florida, Johnson is hoping to gain a better understanding of each school's offense, depth chart, and game day atmosphere.

Johnson says Butch Davis's untimely dismissal hasn't and won't affect UNC's chances with him.

"I like Coach Butch Davis a lot to be honest," Johnson said. "But life goes on. They kept the coaching staff."

Johnson has established a relationship with UNC assistant coaches Troy Douglas and Charlie Williams.

"They send me letters every day, but we talk at least once or twice a week and we email each other," Johnson said. "They talk about the offense, ‘come be a Tar Heel, come help us win, and come in and make a big impact on the team,' because they need receivers like me on the team."

Avery Johnson Profile


Inside Carolina Top Stories