UNC on Jadar's Radar

An unofficial a few weeks ago put North Carolina firmly in the race for Jadar Johnson.

"It was better than I expected, because at first I wasn't really high on North Carolina," Johnson said. "Once I got up there and looked around, it got high on my radar."

Johnson, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound athlete from Orangeburg (S.C.) Orangeburg-Wilkinson, was invited to UNC's Junior Day in mid-February. He accepted, but with a playoff basketball game that night he was forced to arrive prior to the junior day events.

"I did everything that you do on a junior day, but I was by myself," Johnson said. "I had a lot of one-on-one time where I could ask more questions and get more answers."

In particular, Johnson spent a lot of time with Vic Koenning, his primary recruiter and UNC's associate head coach.

"First, he talked about coming in early, because I have most of my classes done for next year so I could graduate early. He said I could come in early work out and get used to it early."

Johnson was given a full tour of the campus, including the football facilities and basketball museum.

"The campus is real nice," Johnson said. "I like everything up there. The facilities are real nice.

"And I like the environment – it's really live. When I went up there, there were four or five events going on up there – they had a track meet, a basketball game was about to go on. Everybody was just live. They have a real nice family."

Before heading home to join his basketball team, Johnson met with Larry Fedora, who offered him a scholarship.

"He liked that I could play both sides of the ball and then my size at corner – I'm really a big corner," Johnson said. "He asked me what position I'd prefer to play. I told him corner. He said they'd play me at corner, but because of my size they'd rotate me to safety some. He said I could get a lot of early playing time if I come up there."

At Orangeburg-Wilkinson, Johnson starts at wide receiver and cornerback. In "wildcat" situations, he'll line up under center.

Defensively, Johnson ended his junior season with five interceptions.

In addition to UNC, Johnson has collected scholarship offers from Clemson and NC State.

Besides UNC, Johnson has visited Clemson, Georgia Tech, NC State, and South Carolina. He's scheduled to attend Vanderbilt's Junior Day on March 24.

Since he is graduating early, Johnson aims to make a verbal commitment by the end of the summer. However, the deeper he gets into the recruiting process, the more difficult that goal appears.

"I don't really have a certain order right now because I can't really count anybody out," Johnson said. "I think I'm going to have to wait until I go on my official visits, because everything I see during junior days is real nice at all the colleges."

Early on, childhood favorite Clemson was Johnson's leader.

"Clemson was the offer I was waiting on for the longest," Johnson said. "I like it a lot up there, but I wouldn't really call them a leader. It was the offer I was looking for, but now that I have more coming I don't know where my mind is right now."

When it comes to selecting a school, first and foremost for Johnson is early playing time. A close second is academics.

"I want to be a mechanical engineer," Johnson said. "So I want to go to a school with a good engineer program."

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