NU "Top-Five" For Johnson

After taking in Saturday practice, Westchester (IL) defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson left Northwestern feeling pleasantly surprised about his experience.

The 6'3, 290-lb defensive tackle admitted that he didn't have high expectations for the visit, but was very impressed with his experience.

"It was interesting because I didn't see Evanston as a sports area, so that kind of surprised me," said Jaleel Johnson. "I bonded with a few of the players and coaches, so that was good."

Thus far, Johnson has offers from Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Toledo, and has received interest from Northwestern as well as Florida State, Nebraska, and others. But after his time in Evanston, Johnson has Northwestern high on his list.

"I'd say they're definitely in my top-five," said Johnson.

During his visit, Johnson just stuck around for the practice, but that's what left him impressed with Northwestern.

On Saturday, the Wildcats took part in a fast-paced, very intense practice, and their first spring practice in full pads. That intensity and excitement is something which Johnson liked to see.

"It was high-tempo, high-energy, the players were focused," he said. "The coaches were hard on the players, and that's good."

Throughout his recruitment, Johnson has constantly been in contact with NU defensive line coach Marty Long, but on Saturday, he finally got to meet Long and Pat Fitzgerald.

"Coach Long and I speak every weekend," said Johnson. "With me going up there, I got to see how the coaches work and how they related with the other players. That's a good thing. Coach Fitzgerald, he's also a former member of the Northwestern football team. To see him come back there is always a plus."

His next step with Northwestern is to receive a scholarship offer. During his time at NU, Johnson spoke with the Northwestern coaches, and now knows what it will take to receive an offer from them.

"I had a talk with the head coach, and defensive line coach, and they were saying that I'm very close to be where I need to be for them to offer," Johnson said. "I need to push myself harder in the classroom and on the field, and I'll see an offer very soon."

During his junior season, Johnson recorded 44 tackles including seven tackles for a loss, while recording three sacks.

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