Ohio RB Donnie Johnson

The Ohio running back is having a tremendous senior season. Penn State is among the teams that have offered a scholarship, and is high on his list.

Name: Donnie Johnson
Position: RB / S / CB
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 195 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.39 (at school), 4.5 (Michigan Nike Camp)
School: North College Hills High School, Cincinnati, Ohio
Offers: Illinois, Penn State, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Ohio, Iowa and Bowling Green

Donnie Johnson has played a key role in helping North College Hills to a 10-1 record.

"It's our first time in the playoffs, first time ever," Donnie said.  "We won our first playoff game 41-10."

Donnie is having a terrific senior season.  He plays RB on offense, and mostly safety on defense.

"I play corner sometimes on third down, when it's a passing situation.

"I have 2,500 yards and 28 touchdowns on 192 carries.  On defense, I have 6 interceptions, and I don't know how many tackles.  I have around 6 sacks."

According to Donnie, his success as a RB can be attributed to "a deadly stiff arm and a deadly step-move."  He can also catch the ball well out of the backfield.

Donnie committed to Illinois on June 29, during an unofficial visit.

"That was my first time up there," he explained.  "Coach Cassity showed me around.  I looked at their depth chart and everything.  They have 2 running backs leaving, so he said I'd have a chance to play next year.  I also talked on the phone to the head coach, Ron Turner, for a second.  The campus and everything looked like it would be a place where I could fit in."

Donnie later realized that his decision was made prematurely.

"Yeah, it was way too early.  That was the first school to offer me a scholarship, so I was real excited about that.  Just going up there and seeing everything, and everybody knew my name and who I was, really turned me on.  I thought that was the place for me."

Donnie would prefer to play RB in college, but is making no demands.

"I'll play anywhere, as long as I like the school.  Wherever they need me the most, that's where I'll play."

Donnie's commitment to Illinois softened when he took an official visit to Penn State on September 1, for the game against Miami.

"I liked it better than Illinois.

"I was supposed to go up to their junior day (on 7/28), but I didn't get a chance to make it.  They were writing me letters every week, so I'll finally called their toll-free number and told them I was going to make it up for the Miami game.   I didn't know it was going to be official.  They suggested that it be an official visit.

"I didn't really think I was going to like Penn State like I did, but I went ahead and made it official so my father didn't have to pay for anything on the trip out there.  After the game, they took us around campus and showed us everything.  I met a couple of players and a couple of coaches.  The facilities and the coaches were WAY better than Illinois'.

Donnie is planning a few additional official visits.

"My official visit to Illinois is December 30.  I'm planning to schedule a couple of more though.  I know I'm going to schedule one with Maryland, and I'm trying to get one down in Florida somewhere, hopefully Florida State.  I'd do anything to go there."

Maryland has not offered, but calls Donnie every week.  They have been talking to him about a visit sometime around the 10th of December.  He has had "absolutely no contact" with Florida State at this point.

"I'm not too worried about the location.  My father said it doesn't matter.  He's going to come and see me wherever I am."

Besides Penn State, Donnie has been to Michigan (Nike Camp in April), Ohio State (summer camp), Illinois and Notre Dame.

Both Penn State and Illinois are recruiting Donnie as a running back.  Although at one point, he did admit that Penn State is his favorite, he later said that "Illinois is a little bit tied for first really".  He will most likely make a decision after his Illinois visit.

According to Donnie, he has a 2.8 GPA, and will be retaking the ACT on December 1.  He will also take the SAT for the first time on December 8.

Photo courtesy of Student Sports (http://www.studentsports.com)

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