Mooney's Johnson On Mend, Keeps Options Open

Youngstown Cardinal Mooney was without standout quarterback Derrell Johnson for last Saturday's Division IV state championship game. But's Bill Greene caught up with Johnson recently and got his thoughts on missing that game due to injury as well as his future and his college choices. Click here for more.

We had a chance to talk with Youngstown Cardinal Mooney's Derrell Johnson immediately after his team's Division IV state title game loss to Coldwater Saturday at Canton's Fawcett Stadium.

Johnson, who missed the game due to a foot injury suffered in the state semifinal win over Bellaire, was understandably upset with the game's outcome but spoke about his season and his recruitment. He also missed several games in the regular season because of a separate injury.

"This is heartbreaking," said Johnson. "I worked all summer to be able to win a state championship. It's been killing me all week knowing I wouldn't be able to play. I feel bad for my teammates that I wasn't able to help them out there today."

Johnson described his recent injury as similar to the first one.

"The injuries were similar," said Johnson. "It just wasn't the same foot this time and there wasn't a fracture this time. It's really frustrating to have this happen twice in the same year."

Colleges far and wide – including Ohio State – like the 6-2, 185-pound Johnson as a wide receiver. Johnson, who boasts 4.5-second speed in the 40, is ranked as the nation's 45th-best wide receiver by Ohio High magazine lists him as the state's No. 24 senior overall.

He transferred to Mooney this year after playing at Campbell Memorial, which was just 1-9 last year. As a junior, he had 1,400 yards total offense while working at quarterback and wide receiver. He also repped at safety.

He helped Mooney win its first five games, but went down with a broken fibula in the Week 5 game against Canton Central Catholic. He maintained hope that his teammates would get into the postseason, which they did with an 8-2 record.

Despite playing just half the season, Johnson earned first-team All-Ohio honors in Division IV. He returned for the playoffs and led the Cardinals to four straight wins.

In his team's 51-7 rout of Cuyahoga Falls CVCA in the playoff opener, Johnson rushed for 146 yards and two TDs and also passed for 102 yards and a TD.

A week later, he ran for 101 yards and two touchdowns and also threw a TD pass in a 28-9 regional semifinal win over Akron Manchester.

Johnson then delivered an 83-yard touchdown run as Mooney again flattened Canton Central Catholic – this time 30-12 – to reach the state semifinals.

He had 98 yards rushing – on just seven carries – in Mooney's 20-13 state semifinal win over Bellaire before going down with the injury. Without him, Mooney fell to Coldwater – led by OSU verbal Ross Homan – 33-9 in the state title game.

Despite the injuries, Johnson is a player that all college recruiters know about. Johnson gets phone calls daily from programs across the country and has received several scholarship offers.

"Right now I have offers from West Virginia, Cincinnati, North Carolina, Purdue and Iowa," said Johnson. "I get a lot of mail and a lot of phone calls every day. It's been neat to see that schools know who I am."

Johnson professed to have a favorite school he's hoping to get an offer from.

"I'm really favoring Ohio State right now," said Johnson. "I've been down there for games and it's a great school. (Wide receivers) coach (Darrell) Hazell calls me fairly regularly and I'm waiting to see what happens."

Johnson also talked about possibly going to a prep school to improve his academic situation.

"I would be open to doing that," said Johnson. "If a school like Ohio State advised me to go that route, then I would think about it. If they promised me they would offer me a scholarship if I performed well academically, I would definitely consider it."

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