Four-star junior linebacker Rahyme Johnson committed to UCLA last summer but the 6-foot-4, 210-pounder from Bishop Mora Salesian High School in Los Angeles isn’t quite ready to shut down the recruiting process, especially after landing an offer from Notre Dame on Monday.
Irish assistant Mike Denbrock visited Johnson’s school and left word of the offer. Johnson called Denbrock later that night to discuss his opportunity.
“He had told me he loved what he saw on film and he was waiting to meet me and see me in person and then he offered,” Johnson said. “It's a big one for me. It's a very prestigious school and just the thought of playing football there is big for me so I'm looking to take a visit out there soon. I don't have anything scheduled yet but I'm working on it trying to get something set up.”
Notre Dame’s interest in Johnson began several weeks ago after reviewing his junior highlights.
“He just said that they saw my film and all the coaches loved what I can do on film and loved the way I played,” Johnson said. “I'm definitely going to look into it. Even though I'm committed I'm still open and listening to what they have to offer. I'm still considering them.”
Johnson talked with the UCLA staff shortly after landing the Irish offer.
“They're supposed to be coming to see me on Wednesday,” he said. “They just said congrats and they'd be by to see me on Wednesday.”
The Irish offer is an intriguing one and Johnson plans to give Notre Dame a serious look as he sees many similarities between his options in Westwood and South Bend.
“From what I've seen, Notre Dame and UCLA are the two schools putting the most linebackers into the NFL,” he said. “Notre Dame just had Jaylon Smith with a knee injury go in the second round and UCLA had Myles Jack with a knee injury go in the second round. Those two schools are definitely near the top because they are good for linebackers and putting linebackers into the next level. That's something to consider.”
He’s also looking at Nebraska, Miami, Michigan and Michigan State and hopes to see several schools this summer.
“Those are the ones I’m talking to most,” he said. “I know I'm going to go to some places in the summer. I'm not exactly sure where as of right now but I'm definitely planning to take some visits in the summer.”
As a junior, Johnson recorded more than 80 tackles, four sacks and picked off a pass.
“For me, it's my athleticism,” he said of his success. “Playing the outside backer position, I used to play receiver, so it’s my athleticism and my ability to cover any slot coming out of the backfield. With my speed, coming off the edge, most offensive linemen can't touch me. That's another big thing for me, my speed.”
Johnson grew up a fan of the New England Patriots but now he’s rooting for a new team. His cousin Winston Rose, a cornerback from New Mexico State, signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Rams this week.