Sacramento resident eager to visit the Oxford campus

D.J. Johnson out of Sacramento, CA., is one of the more coveted defensive line recruits in the country. Scout's No.21 rated defensive end is looking at schools from coast to coast. One of those colleges is Ole Miss.

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"I started hearing from Ole Miss around December or January," Johnson said. "Their coaches starting hitting me up and offered me around Christmas. I have been building a relationship with them ever since, especially coach (Chris) Kiffin."

The Ole Miss defensive line coach has made the 6-foot-4, 260-pound end a priority.

"He's one of the coolest coaches I know. We have a real good relationship. He's a player's coach. A father figure for me. There are a lot of things he can offer. Coach Kiffin is always checking up on my grades and talking to my family and making sure we are all doing well."

What stands out about Ole Miss to this point?

"I just like the level of play they are playing at right now. They have become an elite program. They just keep getting better and better the last few years. They have totally rebuilt that program and gotten to the top."

The Rebels are graduating four of their defensive linemen that will be playing in their rotation this season.

"They are just ready to get me in there and teach me the ropes at my position. They tell me that I can come right in and compete for a job. They talk about their family atmosphere and faith in God, like I do. I've done a lot of research on Ole Miss, and it just seems like a good place to be."

A trip to the Ole Miss campus could be coming soon.

"I'm just trying to save up my money so I can get over there soon. My goal is to get over there this summer."

What does the Under Armour All-American hope to learn about the Rebels when he trips to Ole Miss?

"I want to see what kind of relationship I'll have with their players and coaches. Will it be a place I'll be comfortable? It's all about my relationship with the coaches and players. That's really what I'm looking at with each school."

D.J. has visited two instate schools so far.

"Last year I went to UCLA's camp. A few weeks back I went to California's photo shoot, but other than those two, I have not been anywhere."

The UCLA camp showed him that he belonged on the D1 level.

"It was pretty cool working out with their coaches. I went to their OL/DL camp and got to compete against their top dudes. They pulled me from my age group and put me up with the top seniors that were there. I got to work out with those guys and won MVP of the camp. That was an eye opener for how good I can truly be. It also showed me how much I need to work on some things."

UCLA offered him at the camp.

"They liked how I get after the quarterback (16.5 sacks/30 tackles for a loss his junior season) and liked my motor. They say I play non stop until the whistle blows."

California is also a school that has his attention.

"They are definitely a team that likes to compete. They ball over there. You can tell they are hungry, like Ole Miss. They had a good season last year. It's a real competitive atmosphere over there at Cal."

The depth chart at each school will be looked at heavily when it comes decision time.

"I definitely want to go to a team that has a need at my position. Do they have a bunch of juniors and seniors or underclassmen at my position that are ballers? I'll see if any of those guys are expected to come out (for the draft) early. I just want to see if they care about me as a person, mainly. Like I said earlier its about how comfortable I'm with their players and coaches. Do I feel good around those guys? If they have a need ay my position, and care about me personally, that wraps it up for me."

Johnson has over 40 scholarships to this point. A couple of the schools look to need him the most.

"I would have to say that Alabama and Ole Miss are two schools that really need me. Alabama just got a couple guys drafted and will send a couple more to the league this year. Ole Miss is losing some guys to the league too. There are other schools who need defensive linemen too, like Oregon, Arizona, Utah, and Southern Cal. All of those schools have a need at my position. I'm just looking at who is leaving early and who they are graduating. I just want to go somewhere that has a need for me."

A decision will not come soon.

"I'll take all of my officials after my season. I'll sort out my five I'm going to visit officially later on this summer. After the Under Armour All-American game I'll make my decision."

Yancy Porter is the recruiting analyst for the Ole Miss Spirit and he can be reached at

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