Tyrone Johnson: Hoops over gridiron?

Plainfield High's Tyrone Johnson is a dynamic athlete from the class of 2011 getting interest for his football skills and a bevy of offers for his basketball prowess. Rutgers has offered on the hardwood, and is taking a hard look at him on the football field. But which sport will he play, and what is he looking for in a school? Johnson talks about those things and more.

A sprained right knee ended Plainfield (N.J.) High's Tyrone Johnson's football season early, but it hasn't slowed the class of 2011 athlete's recruiting process -- in football or basketball.

However, Johnson's decision to stop playing football before the Thanksgiving Day game against Westfield (N.J.) High shows what sport he will play in college.

So, while Rutgers, West Virginia, Oregon and Boston College recruit Johnson as a football player, his real focus is on the dozens of schools recruiting him to play basketball.

"My first love is basketball, but I play football,'' Johnson said. "Most likely I will probably play basketball in college. I still haven't sat down with my mother yet. I'm pretty sure I won't be playing both in college.''

Johnson, a 6-foot-2, 187-pound quarterback and point guard, took an unofficial visit to Rutgers to watch the hoops team open the season with a 74-67 win Saturday against Marist.

The Scarlet Knights are one of a bundle of schools to already offer Johnson, who is hearing from Georgetown, West Virginia, Villanova, Seton Hall, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Oregon State, Oklahoma State, Kentucky, St. John's and Indiana.

"I'm still wide open, but I know Georgetown, Villanova and Rutgers have done a real good job recruiting,'' Johnson said. "In the summer time they always made sure there was a coach to see me play like that. I really enjoyed my visits to those schools.

"They saw me play in Florida, West Virginia and North Carolina. That means a lot. It means they're very interested in me. That's a good thing.''

Johnson said his goal is to delve into the recruiting process after the basketball season concludes and choose a college before his senior season begins.

"I'm looking for somewhere where it's a nice atmosphere, produce great guards that go to the (NBA) and a school I can go in and play, and where the head coach is going to stay,'' Johnson said. "I can run-and-gun and I can slow it down. Basically, (the style) really doesn't matter. I'm good at the pick-and-roll style, and with the ball in my hands.''

Johnson is uncertain whether he will play football next season.


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