LOVES PARK, Ill. - Marcus Johnson knew plenty about Notre Dame before it offered in March.
Last spring the sophomore athlete from Los Angeles visited South Bend along with the B2GSports 7-on-7 club teams. Even more, Irish coaches have been regulars at Augustus Hawkins High School.
Johnson, four-star sophomore receiver Jalen Hall and five-star junior receiver Joseph Lewis all have offers. Associate head coach Mike Denbrock had talked with Johnson before offering.
“They’d been recruiting me for a little while before the offer,” Johnson said. “My coach had told me to call coach Denbrock and we got on the phone. At the end of the conversation he told me I received a scholarship. It was big because Notre Dame is a beautiful place. It’s a great program. I could see myself there in the future.”
Today Johnson will get back on campus as the B2GSports crew makes a final visit on its swing through the Midwest. Last week they visited Michigan ahead of the IMG 7-on-7 Midwest Regional, which resulted in a second place finish.
Johnson, who the Irish coaches like at slot receiver or running back, maintains plenty of positive vibes from the previous trip.
“Last year when we tripped down there it was just a good feel, a good environment,” Johnson said. “Seeing how they play the game and how they take it serious on the field and off the field, in the classroom with academics, it’s just a place I could see myself playing.”
Notre Dame joins Arizona, Arizona State, Boston College, Cal, Colorado, Oregon State, Tennessee and USC on the offer list. Johnson said Michigan and UCLA could be next.
But even with USC heavily involved and UCLA potentially on the verge, Johnson is still entertaining the idea of playing college ball father away from home.
“I don’t think that’d be a problem for me,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind getting away from home actually just to go to another place, travel the world and see new stuff.”
Either way, there are some things the 5-foot-10, 165-prospect views as important even if proximity to Los Angeles isn’t one of them. Namely, a balance between football and books.
“I want to be a playmaker and you’ve gotta do the right things in the classroom,” Johnson said. “You can’t just be a football player and you be messing up in the classroom. You’ve gotta have both those things so when you do make that transition it should be easy. You should just focus on what you can do.”null