Ohio RB Donnie Johnson

Donnie talks about his in-house visits, and his interest in playing running back for the Nittany Lions.

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

Donnie Johnson had a terrific senior season for North College Hills.  He rushed for nearly 3000 yards, and scored 35 TDs.

Donnie committed to Illinois on June 29, during an unofficial visit.  He later took an official visit to Penn State on September 1 for the Miami game and was thoroughly impressed.  Since then, Donnie has decommitted from Illinois and now favors the Nittany Lions.  He was, however, scheduled to take an official visit to Illinois during the last weekend of this month.

"I changed that from December 30 to December 15," Donnie said.  "I'm thinking about Maryland for another official visit.  They're talking about the 5th of January.  It's a long shot though because I think I'll be committed by then.  I think I'll be committed after Christmas.  There's really no time to make it earlier because I take my ACT this weekend, then I have the Illinois visit.  The week after that is Christmas and they (Maryland) have a bowl game, so that's as soon as I can get it.  As of right now, that's all the officials I'm considering."

Donnie had a couple of in-house visits recently.

"I had 2 so far.  The first one was with Illinois on Thursday, and I just had one with Penn State Tuesday night.  The Illinois visit was with Mike Cassity, the defensive coordinator.  Tuesday night I met with Bill Kenney, the offensive lineman and tight end coach.

"I talked to Mike Cassity for about 45 minutes.  He just told me how much they want me at Illinois and how they're looking next year.  Bill Kenney was here for about 2 hours.  He got here before I got here.  He got here at around 8:00 and I got home at 8:30.  He talked with my mother until I got home.  We just talked about Penn State, depth charts, coaches, everything.  It went real well, we covered everything."

Penn State is still Donnie's clear favorite, and the Nittany Lions, who have given Donnie a written scholarship offer, are clearly interested.

"Coach Kenney said he'll be back down next weekend."

Donnie needs a qualifying score on either the ACT or SAT.

"I'm taking the ACT on Saturday.  I took the SAT this past weekend.  I think did pretty well on it.  I feel pretty confident.  I watched a video and also took a little class for the ACT."

"I'll make a decision after Christmas.  After I come back from Illinois, I can sit down and talk to my family.  That gives me a whole week to make sure it's really what I want to do."

What separates Penn State from Illinois?

"It feels like a perfect fit right now.  I can't find too many reasons not to go to Penn State.  I like the offensive scheme  It seems like the right time now that they have 2 running backs leaving.  I can just step in and compete for playing time.

"Illinois says they have 2 seniors.  They have one leaving and one probably coming back for his 5th year.  It's pretty much the same as Penn State."

So what else separates them?

"The quarterback.  I know Zack Mills is going to be real good and they have Mike Robinson.  Zack Mills is a redshirt freshman and Mike Robinson is a freshman.  I haven't heard from anyone on Illinois [about who will QB] once Kurt Kittner leaves.  That's a factor too.  I watched Zack Mills and I asked about him.  They said he's going to be a future All-American for sure."

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