Micah is the Man

When it comes to the class of 2006, Fort Campbell, Ky., standout Micah Johnson is arguably the best big athlete in the country. Johnson played running back and linebacker at 265 pounds last season and recorded 173 tackles, and rushed for more than 1,200 yards.

He is the top prospect in the state of Kentucky and he is one of the top five overall prospects in the country. Who is this phenom from Fort Campbell High in the Bluegrass State? Well, if you are a recruiting junkie, then you already know about Micah Johnson. If you are just catching on now then you better write his name down because you will be hearing an awful lot of Johnson over the next eight months and beyond.

Johnson, 6-foot-2 and 257 pounds, projects as a defensive tackle. But don't let his size fool you. This kid is a beast with freakish athletic ability. He could defy the odds and play middle linebacker or even running back at the next level. Yes, you read that correctly.

"Believe it or not, I am done to 257 and I will get down to 250 before the season starts," said Johnson. "I have been working really hard to lose the weight and gain speed. It's all about speed for me because I would really like to play linebacker or even running back in college. Many people project me as a defensive tackle, but schools are starting to come around about me play linebacker and even running back. The hard work is paying off."

Last season at 265 pounds, Johnson rushed for over 1,200 yards and scored 17 touchdowns in just six games. Much of that yardage came in the last three games of the season when he switched to running back from fullback. He also made 173 tackles on defense and notes that he rarely played in the second half of games because his team was usually holding a big lead at intermission. Johnson's big game of the season came in the second round of the playoffs. On 28 carries he rushed for 310 yards and two touchdowns, leading his team to the victory. He also added 17 tackles.

Right now Johnson is sitting on scholarship offers from a who's who of college football. Who does he favor?

"I really like Arkansas, LSU, Penn State, Louisville, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky.

"I have had some great talks with the Arkansas coaches. They seem like they are a class act all the way around. They told me they want to build their defense around me and they really talk up the education part of college. They seem like they prepare you for the next level and for life after football and that's important.

"LSU is a place with a great defensive line and you need a great defensive line to be a great linebacker because those are the guys that free you up to make plays. I also like their coaching staff.

"I love Joe Paterno at Penn State. What a legacy he has there. I also like Jay (Paterno). It's been impressive that they have been able to attract some of the best recruits. I have been up there for a combine and I was impressed with their facilities.

"Louisville is a school near home and that could be important. They also want to play me at running back and they have a track record with big back like (Eric) Shelton and (Michael) Bush.

"People don't know it but I was actually born in Columbus, Georgia and I like Georgia. They have a great team and lots of talent. They are also recruiting very well and they just picked up one of the best quarterbacks in the country in Matthew Stafford. They are doing something right down there and I like that staff too.

"Tennessee is close to home too. I think that is one team where I could have lots of playing options. Tennessee has a great tradition and the support they get is just ridiculous. That's a great school.

"Kentucky is a team that has a lot of good young players and I think they will progress this season and sneak up on a lot of teams. Plus, I have a brother there (Christian — a defensive tackle). He was at Hargraves Military School last year."

At this time Johnson hopes to camp at Arkansas, Kentucky, Clemson and Louisville this summer.

What position will he play at the next level? What team will Micah Johnson choose? Where will he fall in the overall recruiting rankings? All those questions will be answered in the coming months so stay tuned.

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