USF receiver Taurus Johnson, had 38 receptions for 498 yards and six touchdowns in his senior season and finished his career at USF he had 112 catches for 1,434 yards and 12 touchdowns. T.J scored the first touchdown against Memphis in the MagicJack St. Petersburg Bowl and got invited to play in the annual Shrine game in front of NFL scouts, and made the most of his opportunity.
--Wide receiver Taurus Johnson of South Florida had a productive week of practice. He's got real good hands and has good awareness. Any time he had an opportunity to catch the ball along the sidelines, he did a good job getting his feet down. I really thought he stood out down here. -- Area scout Todd Brunner, 49ers.com
--Johnson shows the quick footwork to accelerate and reach full speed in a blink and the speed to separate on downfield routes. His quickness and agility help him change direction to create space. He shows the hands, leaping ability and concentration to catch passes over defensive backs. -- Russ Lande, the Sporting News
Talk about your Shrine game experience, what was your feeling when you first got invited?
"I was very excited when they first called me and invited me to come out here and play. I was like I can't wait. From there on in, I went out there had fun and did my thing.
What was the atmosphere like when you got out there?
"It was great. We were right there in downtown Houston. I saw the Galleria the biggest mall in Houston. I definitely had fun hanging out with the different players, NFL scouts and coaches. The scouts said some pretty good stuff, and said they were very impressed with me."
Were you nervous at all when you first got there?
"Maybe a little at first, it was a big time atmosphere, but I just went out there and do what I do best."
How did it feel to be with all the talent out there?
"It was real fun to get to see all the kids from different schools. There were some of the best players in college football out there. They were all stars there, and I got the opportunity to showcase my talent, and a chance to show what I can do. We all went out there competed and had a lot of fun."
Did you see a lot of players you knew out there?
"Oh yeah, Courtney Greene from Rutgers, Hunter Caldwell from Louisville, my boy Keith Fitzhugh from Mississippi State, Morrty Ivy from West Virginia, Aaron Kelly from Clemson. All of them were out there, and it was a whole lot of fun."
What did you want to accomplish when you went out there?
"I wanted to try and do everything right. I wanted to show the scouts that I can run good routes, go up for the ball, and show that I can block. The scouts said I blocked well all week in practice, and in the game they asked me to block. I'm always trying to work on my blocking no matter what."
How was the week of practice different from what you were used to at South Florida?
"It was definitely quick paced. Every play is fast. But that's what Coach Canales and Coach Leavitt stressed to us at USF. Everything is fast, fast, fast in the NFL. You run your routes faster, breaks, everything."
Did you get to talk with a lot of scouts and coaches while out there?
"I talked to a lot of scouts, they asked me questions, and I asked questions of them. They said they saw a lot of great things. They told me to keep it up and everything will take care of itself."
How many teams do you think you spoke with and did any show extra interest?
"I probably talked with 10-15 teams. I spoke a lot with the St. Louis Rams, the Broncos, Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay, 49ers, and a bunch others, I just can't think right now because there were a lot."
Were you disappointed you didn't have a catch in the game?
"We ran basically a pro style offense, and had some good running back so we ran a lot. Me and a few other receivers said let's just go out there and block like hell and show what we got. I'm sure scouts know we can catch the ball, they saw that all week in practice. I had one ball thrown to me, but he threw it in a crowd and I had to do a 360 because it was behind me."
How do you feel you did while out there?
"I think I did good and what I went out there to do. I worked hard and played hard, and tried to show the scouts what I can do. I tried to get better every day that I was there, and a lot of people were saying a lot of good stuff about me."
What was your highlight from your time out there?
"On the second day of practice doing one on ones, I did a double out and the quarterback just threw it out there. So I ran and dove for the ball, and I caught it. Lot of the scouts was like wow, and said it was the highlight of the day. I also had a nice crack back on the LB from West Virginia that was a nice highlight too."
You did enough to get an invite to the NFL combine, how do you feel about that?
"I'm excited and can't wait. That's why I'm training now to get myself ready. I'm looking forward to another opportunity to showcase my talent. I want to get there, run good routes, catch the ball, run a good forty, good vertical, and show what I can do."
How did you find out, and who was the first person you told?
"One of the GM's first told my agent, and then the people from the NFL told me they wanted me to come up. The first person I told was my mom, she was thrilled. The first person I told at USF was Coach Canales, but he already knew and just wanted to see the look on my face when I told him.
Did you think after the season ended that you would be getting this opportunity?
"I really didn't know. I heard some things, but nothing official. My agent helped me out and Coach Canales and Bill McGillis helped me out to get in front of NFL scouts and coaches, and now it's up to me."
On another subject, have you been following USF's recruiting class this year?
"Absolutely, I follow as much as I can. I hear they're looking like a top 25 class. They're going to be pretty good."
What are you doing now while waiting for the NFL combines?
"Things are going great, I'm just been training at Saddle Brook Resort. It's a nice quiet training facility away from everything. I'm going back and forth because I still have classes. I'm just doing everything that I possibly can to get in the best condition and show what I can do."