Frogs Chasing Another Hidden Gem

Gainesville, Texas 2013 prospect Denzel Johnson will visit TCU this weekend.

With just less than a week to go until signing day, the last few days always seem to present a few surprises. Surprises are usually defined by late switches or landing a big time target. Sometimes though, other surprises are discovering under the radar type players. And in the state of Texas, hidden gems usually appear with less than a month to go until signing day.

Gainesville, Texas athlete Denzel Johnson fits that description.

At 6-foot-2, 200-pounds, Johnson is an intriguing prospect. He played quarterback for the Leopards this season and passed and rushed for over 1,000 yards and accounted for 22 touchdowns. More importantly he led his team to a 12-1 record. But, that's not it. He's also the team's punter and plays safety.

Gainesville head football coach Keith Hall says there's not much his star player can't do on the football field and is quick to point out that Johnson is as good a person off the field. The lack of attention for Johnson has surprised Hall somewhat, but they were playing catch up from the start.

"He's an incredible young man, this is my first year at Gainesville and I think the thing that hurt him a little bit is they didn't have a lot on him his junior year," Hall said. "I thought there would be a little more interest; we sent out a bunch of tape and we went 12-1 and I think if we would've beat Kilgore a lot of people would've seen him in person."

Hall confirmed that Johnson has received his first FBS offer from UTSA while also holding offers from Midwestern State, East Central Oklahoma and Southeastern Oklahoma. However, a big time program is also in the mix – TCU.

Gary Patterson built his program to national prominence recruiting players who didn't fit the "high-profile" image out of high school. Tank Carder, Daryl Washington and Jerry Hughes are just a few names that weren't highly recruited. It should come as no surprise that the Frogs see Johnson's athleticism and is why they have invited him in for an official visit this weekend.

Hall said the Frogs have mentioned different positions to Johnson and the coach has no doubt that he can make it at the next level.

"They said about five different positions they could play him. One is at safety, he's 6-foot-2, 205 and a 4.5 kid and has a 37-inch vertical," he said. "He's quite an athlete. He did a lot of great things for us. He can punt and he can throw the ball 65-yards. They're looking at him as an athlete. With their schemes defensively he may make a safety or he may make an outside linebacker. I don't know if he'll grow anymore but I know he wears a size 14 shoe. There are a lot of things he can do and he's a great young man."

UTSA head coach Larry Coker visited Gainesville earlier this week and Johnson spent Wednesday and Thursday at the San Antonio campus. Next up is TCU. The only question is whether or not the Frogs extend an offer.

"What we're hoping is that they are going (to offer)," Hall said.

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