Jarrett Guarantano is Tennessee’s quarterback commitment for the 2016 class, and the Scout four-star prospect speaks openly and confidently about winning a national championship in Knoxville.
Johnson, ranked by Scout as the No. 3 quarterback in the 2017 class, shares the exact same thoughts and is a firm believer in what third-year coach Butch Jones has in store for Big Orange Country. That and the Volunteers being the first school to offer Johnson a scholarship are two of the reasons why the Brownsburg (Ind.) High School field general is heading to Rocky Top, verbally committing Sunday.
“I feel really confident here, and I love it here,” Johnson told InsideTennessee. “I know coach Jones, I know he’s got a plan, he’s moving in the right direction. Tennessee, overall, it’s just a special time here right now.”
Johnson, who has taken 6-7 visits to Knoxville already, chose Tennessee over offers from programs such as Florida, Miami (Fla.), Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Penn State.
“Tennessee, they were my first school to offer,” the 6-foot-2, 197-pound Johnson said. “That shows a lot of confidence and commitment. I’ve just always had a good relationship here with coach Jones and the whole staff. I know a lot about Tennessee right now. I just feel like it’s a great program, obviously, and they’re heading in the right direction. I feel confident here.”
Tennessee did have a commitment from defensive tackle Jordon Riley of Riverside (N.C.) High School, but the 6-foot-5, 288-pounder decided to open his recruitment back up. That makes Johnson the lone junior pledge for the Big Orange.
The quarterback that plays his prep home games roughly 20 miles from Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indianapolis Colts, told IT that he will be back at Neyland Stadium this fall to see Team 119 compete. Johnson was in the house to see Tennessee host Chattanooga and Missouri in 2014.
Johnson has two seasons remaining in the purple-clad uniforms of Brownsburg before he trades them in to wear orange and white. However, he is anxious to see Jones & Co. start hanging more Ws on the win-loss column sooner rather than later.
“I would obviously love to see them win,” Johnson said. “These coaches here, they’re looking for a national championship. I have no doubt that they can do it, and they can pull it off here. It’ll be exciting to see how the season goes.”
The right-hander completed 122 of 226 passes for 1,434 yards and 10 touchdowns with eight interceptions his sophomore season.