Texas S Working on UNC Visit

It’s not often that North Carolina dips into the Lone Star State for recruits. However, the Tar Heels' coaching staff hopes to fill its safety objective with Jamile Johnson. The early returns seem promising.

“Coach [Larry] Porter, he’s a former Texas running backs coach, so I’m guessing that’s how he found out about me,” Johnson said. “The offer really caught me by surprise, because I’ve always thought about the Tar Heels but it didn’t really start getting serious until they actually came up and offered me.

“They’re my top school just because I know I can go in there and make an immediate impact because they’re trying to get me in early in January. That way I can go ahead and enroll in the spring semester and participate in spring practice.”

UNC offered Johnson, a 6-foot-1, 201-pound safety from Dallas (Texas) South Oak Cliff, days after losing longtime commitment Ronnie Harrison to Alabama in late July.

Ironically, Johnson made a switch in his commitment also. He backed out on a six-month pledge with Oklahoma shortly after receiving the UNC offer.

“I really don’t want to comment on that right now,” Johnson said. “I’ve moved way past [Oklahoma].”

Since the UNC offer was extended, Porter and Johnson speak almost every other day.

“We just talk about what the future is going to be like,” Johnson said. “We just talk about official visits and how he wants to get me down in January so I can enroll in January for the spring semester.”

Johnson and Porter haven’t singled out any particular weekends for his UNC official visit. However, Johnson says it will occur during the season and he’d prefer for it to be during a bye week so that he could spend as much time with the UNC coaches and players as possible.

“I want to learn more about the program,” Johnson said. “How they get the guys ready? What’s the percentage of the guys graduating or the guys that go to the League? And what do they do to keep their guys motivated throughout the season? What they do to help their guys with tutors?

“I really want North Carolina to help me in my life. I don’t want them to show any slack on me. I want them to really help me.”

The official visit will be crucial for Johnson’s recruitment.

“I kind of already know where I want to go,” Johnson said. “But I don’t want to commit just yet. I’m just waiting to take my officials. I’m going to take all my officials. I will commit on one of my official visits.”

Heading into Johnson’s official visit schedule, UNC is the team to beat. In addition to the early playing time the coaching staff is offering, Johnson is attracted by the school’s Pre-Health major.

“One of my goals or my dreams is to be a doctor – if the NFL doesn’t work out,” Johnson said.”My goal is to make it to the League. But I need to think about life after football.”

UNC’s main competition will come from Nebraska, Texas, and TCU. The Longhorns are the only one of the three that has yet to offer.

“They said they’re interested in me and they want to offer me a scholarship,” Johnson said. “But at my position, they already have two safeties committed, so they’ll probably have to offer me at corner. So I’m just waiting for them to go through the process.”

Although Johnson has visited Texas three times unofficially, Nebraska and TCU are in the same boat as UNC – Johnson will use official trips to see their campuses for the first time.

Nebraska is the only school that Johnson has scheduled an official visit date with. He’ll travel to Lincoln the weekend of Sept. 20 when the Cornhuskers host Miami.

Besides UNC, Nebraska is also the only school that has discussed early enrollment with Johnson.

Johnson began his high school career at running back as a freshman until moving to safety late that season. The following year, he earned a starting role on defense where his primary position was safety, but rotated between the back seven depending on opponent and situation. He ended his sophomore season with five interceptions – including two that were returned for touchdowns – and 80 tackles. Opponents stayed away from Johnson more during his junior year, thus his interception numbers dipped to two, but he recorded about the same amount of tackles.

Johnson says that Porter hasn’t discussed exactly which safety he’d playing within UNC’s 4-2-5 scheme, but believes he fits as a ram or strong safety.

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