Heels Get Running Back

D'Ernest Johnson verbally committed to North Carolina on Wednesday.

"When it happened, Coach [Dan] Disch didn't believe me at first," Johnson said. "But I told him I was for real, he was very happy. Coach [Randy] Jordan, he was very happy, too. And Coach [Larry] Fedora, he's very excited about me – he's ready for me to go up there already."

Johnson, a 5-foot-9, 160-pound running back, has been listing UNC within his top three schools since early this spring, along with Louisville and Georgia. In addition to the three aforementioned schools, he received offers from Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and West Virginia.

"The coaching staff was showing me a lot of love and I heard a lot of good things about North Carolina," Johnson said. "And I love the running back coach. I feel like I can go over there right away and do big things."

Disch, who recruits southwest Florida for UNC, and Jordan, the Tar Heels' running back coach, teamed to recruit Johnson. Disch made evaluation visits to Immokalee on Wednesday morning.

"We're real tight," Johnson said. "I have a great relationship with them. They talk to my aunt, they talk to my family, and I call them every week."

Johnson made the pledge despite the lack of a visit to UNC. However, he is close with current Tar Heels T.J. Jiles and Malik Simmons, as well as UNC pledge Tajze Battle, who visited Chapel Hill last summer.

"They said a lot of great things about North Carolina," Johnson said. "They said there's a lot of love and I can go over there and contribute to the football team."

Although he doesn't have any set plans, Johnson is looking to visit UNC this June.

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.

"[The UNC coaches] see that I'm a baller and I can do great things," Johnson said. "They think I can fit into the offense very well."

D'Ernest Johnson Profile

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