OSU in on defensive end, but competition fierce

OREGON STATE IS still in on defensive end and linebacker prospect Devin Johnson who is being heavily recruited in the Pac-10 and beyond. The Beavers had another "in" with the standout from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., native in that he was going to attend the full OSU summer camp. But as is wont to happen in recruiting, things change.

Rancho Cucamonga High's Johnson, a 6-3, 215-pound lightning bolt, no longer plans to camp at Oregon State's summer camp this summer (June 24-28). He also doesn't plan on attending the camp at USC nor any other camps or combines, saying he just doesn't want to take a chance on getting injured.

Oregon State hasn't offered Johnson yet, but they remain high on his list, staying in touch with members of the Beavers coaching staff.

"They're real cool people, down to earth," he said of the OSU coaches.

Meanwhile, Arizona is making a strong play for an early verbal.

UCLA had been his leader last month but that distinction now belongs to UA. He and his father visited Tucson this past weekend, and Johnson's father sounds like he wouldn't mind it if his son made his decision sooner rather than later.

Johnson has received offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Washington State, Colorado and Oregon Other schools of interest besides the Beavers include UCLA. Virtually the entire Pac-10 is recruiting the speed merchant -- some are looking at him at linebacker, some at defensive end.

A school's academics program, facilities and coaches will be important to his decision and so will something else -- location.

"Something like a warm climate -- I don't want to be too cold or too hot," Johnson said with a laugh.

Johnson, who runs a 4.5 in the 40 with a motor that never stops, had 10 sacks among his 77 tackles for Rancho Cucamonga last season. He also had 5 blocked kicks on punts and field goal attempts coming off the edge.

"Devin is highly energetic," says Rancho Cucamonga head man Chris Van Duin. "He's all over the place."

OPPONENTS HAD TROUBLE last year blocking Johnson, the only junior defensive lineman named first team all-CIF in Division II. Among his others honors this past year, Johnson was first team all-league and a LA Times All-Region first team selection.

"He can make plays from behind," said Van Duin. "He makes you account for a player you normally wouldn't have to."

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