It's a new year and with the NCAA dead period is coming to an end, this will be the first big recruiting weekend of '08, chock full of visitors.
One of the visitors that is coming in is Largo's 5'11-182 pound Leonard Johnson, a talented dual-threat player that plays quarterback, safety, and corner, and has been on the Bulls radar for some time.
This season Leonard Johnson led his Largo Packers team to an undefeated season and a playoff run into the Class 5A state semi-finals state championship for the first time in the programs history, where they lost to St. Thomas Aquinas.
"We made a good run but fell short in the semis, we've only lost six games since the last three years and four of those were in the playoffs."
On the year, Johnson threw for over 900 yards while piling up over 800 more on the ground. Overall he accounted for 23 touchdowns, 13 through the air and 10 on the ground. On most snaps, Johnson wheels around and hands off to Brynn Harvey, who set the county rushing record for the regular season with 2,043 yards. However, Johnson has an uncanny ability to spin out of sacks, and either makes the pass or turns it into a long gain, and often a score. That ability earned him All-Pinellas county first team for offense.
Leonard comes from a football background. His father Leonard Johnson Sr. set the Clearwater HS record for rushing yards in a game with 265 as a sophomore quarterback in 1982, before going on to star at Alabama A&M and spent time in the training camps of the Houston Oilers , Dallas Cowboys and Buccaneers.
The versatile Johnson is
"Most schools are looking at me as a corner/athlete. I haven't played as much corner this year, I was mainly playing quarterback, but I played corner every time we played a team that throws a lot.
In limited play at corner this year, Johnson recorded 2 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries, but has played corner all four years playing varsity ball and has 14 career interceptions.
"My freshman and sophomore years, I started at corner every game, and in my freshman year I set the school interception record in a season with seven."
The 3-star prospect defensive skills didn't go unnoticed as he was added to the FACA North-South All-Star game in
"It was really great playing with all that talent and speed. Not that I haven't played against some good athletes, but there everybody has speed and plays at a high level. I beat out some good talent there, and finished with six solo tackles, a forced fumble and put a vicious hit on the quarterback."
The projected cornerback has plenty of field experience and has an idea of what makes him such a special athlete.
"My athleticism, and awareness to the ball, I never quit. Also my ability to make plays Monday through Thursday in practice shows up when I play on the weekends"
Johnson has received plenty of interest and claims over 12 offers including USF,
"I'm going to USF on the Jan.11, Ole Miss on Jan 18, and the last visit will either be
The multi-talented prospect doesn't want to name a favorite and offend anyone, but knows what he's looking for in a program.
"I'm looking for an opportunity to play and make an impact. I want to play a major role."
Johnson says he's very familiar with the Bulls and has been for some time.
"I love the Bulls. I followed them long before they started recruiting me in my junior year, and they have done some real impressive things in that time. I've gone to see a bunch of home game this year, and the USF coaches have come out to see me play during the season and the playoffs."
Leonard also has some connections to the Bulls which could help.
"One of the guys I grew up watching Theo Wilson, just committed there, he's probably one of the best athletes I've ever seen play. I'm also friends with Jerrel Young, he goes there, and tells me how good of an environment it is there, the level of competition, about the academics and all the good things, nothing bad.
What are some of the things that Johnson likes about the Bulls?
"They're an up-and-coming program, with great coaches and made some noise this year. Also with they're corner situation I could have the opportunity to play early."
Even though Johnson knows the program he's eager to take his visit to USF and learn more about the program.
"I've been to the school before but this is different. I'll be able to see everything, talk to the coaches and ask all the questions that I need to know."
Many scouts agree that Johnson is a special athlete and any school that lands him will be getting a gem. He's been very tight lipped about his favorites, but with all the work the staff has put into him will it's hard to imagine that it won't pay dividends.