UNC in Top Three for Fla. RB

Despite the lack of a campus visit, D'Ernest Johnson lists North Carolina among his top three schools.

"I have a very high interest North Carolina," Johnson said. "There's a lot of stuff that I like. A couple of friends of mine go there – Malik [Simmons] and T.J. Jiles – and they tell me a lot of great things about North Carolina. The coaches love me. The running back position is open and I have a great chance of going there and getting early playing time."

Louisville and Georgia round out Johnson's top three. The 5-foot-9, 160-pound running back from Immokalee (Fla.) doesn't claim a leader.

"I have great relationships with the coaches [at those three schools]," Johnson said. "And the playing time [those schools offer]."

All three of Johnson's favorite schools have offered him, plus five others – Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and West Virginia.

Before naming a leader, Johnson plans to visit all three members of his top schools list this summer. He and several recruits in southwest Florida plan to map out a summer road trip that will include stops at numerous schools.

"I want to see the environment, the players, and the coaching staff," Johnson said. "But I want to see the environment and see if I feel at home."

Previously, Johnson has made several visits to Florida and taken a trip to Ole Miss.

Johnson has heard plenty of positives about UNC from Simmons and Jiles.

"They told me that the coaches aren't going to lie to you or anything like that – they are going to keep everything real," Johnson said. "They told me the facilities are great. They got new uniforms that are going to be good."

Besides Simmons and Jiles, Johnson communicates with UNC assistant coaches Randy Jordan, the Tar Heels' running back coach, and Dan Disch. Johnson says he speaks to Disch, who recruits his area, a little bit more.

"They said I would fit in great into the offense," Johnson said. "They said that I'm an explosive ‘back and that's what they're looking for."

Johnson has been Immokalee's starting running back since his freshman year. As a junior, he racked up 1,129 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground.

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