Since then, the 6'3, 180-lb wide receiver prospect has been the toast of the town.
"I've gotten a lot of love lately. It seems like the whole city can't wait for me to get out of here."
Realizing that he has a chance to further inspire the youth of Gary, his opportunity to be a scholarship athlete on a big stage in college made Johnson recall a moment from this season.
"It means a lot to me. I know I have people looking up to me. What made me want to work harder was when I was in the middle of the game, and a person brought a kid out of the stands, and said this is your biggest fan right here. I was like, I'm only in high school and I have fans? It made me want to work harder."
The sense of community in his home town is something Johnson also felt on his visit to Columbus, and that is part of why the Buckeye offer stands out so much right now.
"Just, the way the city treats the players. They welcomed me with open arms and I wasn't even on the team, I'm just a recruit. I was asking, why are they treating me like this? I'm just a recruit. I felt like I was at home, and the fast paced offense, the swagger of the team, everybody on the team has great swag and positive attitudes and the coaching staff is phenomenal."
Will that lead to a Buckeye commitment, and will it be soon?
"I've been thinking about it. I'm just trying, if I'm going to do it, I want to figure out a special day to do it. You only get to do it once. I have to find a best day. My nephew's birthday is the 22nd, my cousin's birthday is on the 23rd, but I don't know. I'm thinking about it."