19 in 19: Tejay Johnson

ScarletReport.com's "19 in 19" series continues with a look at former New Jersey Meet of Champions 100 meter title holder Tejay Johnson, who will enroll at Rutgers in two weeks. Johnson spoke about the speed he brings to the offense, how he changed after going to Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, and what he thinks of fellow 100 meter Meet of Champions title holder Miles Shuler at Rutgers.

Tejay Johnson first met Miles Shuler during the 2009 Meet of Champions 100 meter track race. Johnson won that in a time off 10.67 seconds, with Shuler finishing third, and last year Shuler won it in 10.39 seconds.

In the next two months both will enroll at Rutgers, and bring the type of speed to the receiver position that could cause havoc with an opposing secondary.

"With us together on the outside and in the slot," Johnson said, "I feel like we could do big numbers together, especially with the big kind of possession receivers they have, like (Mohamed) Sanu, catching those first downs.

"I feel like him and I could definitely be impact players next year. Then again, we're young, we'll still be learning, and that's a good thing."

Johnson will enroll in two weeks, and it will end an 11-month journey of frustration and personal growth that has the Egg Harbor Township (N.J.) High product more appreciative of his opportunity than a year ago.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Johnson signed with Rutgers' 2010 class, but did not qualify. He spent part of the fall at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, signed again in February's 2011 class, and achieved his necessary qualifying SAT score in March.

"Last year if I would have made it, I don't think I would have appreciated it as much as I do now," Johnson said. "Fork Union made me not just dedicated, but now I can say I'm ready for the experience. I was very mature. I'm not going to lie. I was lazy – not when it came to football, but in the classroom and living life.

"I feel that going to Fork Union, that helped me cut that stuff out. There are days I do sleep late, but those are the days I get up and go play basketball for three or four hours, and it's non-stop running up and down the court, or lifting. Every single day I'm doing an activity to keep in shape."

During the spring, Johnson remained in contact with the Rutgers coaching staff and academic advisors, worked out and did his best to understand the types of routes the Scarlet Knights will use in offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti's offense.

"I know my routes," Johnson said. "I just have to get up there and learn plays, as in being in position, being in spots, and knowing what route that is. If you give me a route, I can tell you what it is. Mentally, I'm there and ready to go right now."

During his final season at Egg Harbor Township High, Johnson lined up in the backfield, at receiver and also cornerback. He did most of his damage in the backfield, rushing for 973 yards and 10 touchdowns.

He was rated as Scout.com's No. 1 cornerback in New Jersey's 2010 class, but was recruited to play receiver at Rutgers. And the thought of playing alongside Shuler is appealing.

"We possess some serious speed between the two of us," he said. "I honestly don't see how people are going to match up.

"With the recruits coming in, and hopefully they're going to keep recruiting the same kind of speed, and getting the Jersey guys to stay home, there's going to be some serious speed."

Johnson also returned kicks at Egg Harbor Township, and did again during his few appearances at Fork Union, and he would like to try it at Rutgers.

"I've returned kickoff my whole life," he said. "I also returned punts in high school, which I honestly can't stand. It's kind of dangerous. I'm one of those guys that likes to go across the middle on slant routes, underneath routes, but punt returns …the experience of having to pay attention to everybody coming at you and having to catch the ball …I think I fumbled two of them my senior year.

"On kick returns, all I need is a little gap to open and I'm there."

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