Carlos Johnson is a promising prospect who will be a junior at P-C this fall. He was a mere freshman in 2010, when Tennessee's massive Antonio "Tiny" Richardson (6-feet-6, 329 pounds) was a senior at Pearl-Cohn.
"I met Tiny," Johnson noted. "He's a pretty nice guy. He's a big boy."
Johnson is no Smurf himself, packing 297 pounds on a 6-foot-3 frame. Like Richardson, Johnson plays left tackle, where his duties include protecting the quarterback's blind side. That's also the position he played during Tennessee's recent high school camp. The camp provided an opportunity to learn from Vol staffers and impress them at the same time.
"I learned a lot of stuff from all of the coaches," Johnson said, "and I had a great time just competing."
Johnson spent most of his time working with first-year Vol offensive line coach Sam Pittman.
"He's great," Johnson said. "He showed me a lot of pointers to help me later in my career."
Tennessee's interest in Johnson appears quite strong. Head coach Derek Dooley and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney sought him out for conversations during his stay in Knoxville.
"Coach Dooley invited me to come here for a game," Johnson said.
Based on his visit, Johnson could see himself wearing Volunteer orange someday.
"I just love it here," he said. "It's great. I love the atmosphere. The coaches are all helpful. Everything here just fits me, basically."
Johnson apparently impressed Tennessee's coaches just as much as Tennessee's coaches impressed him.
"I'm more of a pass blocker I feel like but I was told I was a great run blocker here," he said, "so I guess I'm pretty much good at both."
Johnson attended Alabama's camp three weeks ago and was scheduled to attend Ole Miss' camp last week. He has no scholarship offers to date but believes Tennessee's staff is very interested in him.
"They didn't tell me about an offer," Johnson noted, "but the offensive line coach said he would be recruiting me very strongly and Derek Dooley said to come up here and watch a game."
When asked which school appears to be most interested in him, Johnson replied: "Right now it seems like UT."
Like most prospects, he is looking for a college that makes him feel comfortable.
"I want a place for me to fit in, a place where they help me," he said. "A good environment, with other players working hard and trying to compete."
Johnson said the opportunity to get quality coaching will weigh heavily in his college decision. He believes he could get that from Sam Pittman.
"He's great," Johnson said. "I love his intensity. I love how he came over to the side and helped me if I did something wrong or got beat."