Johnson likes familiarity, fan base of Vols

One of the Volunteer State's best 2018 wide receivers has an eye on Tennessee.

The trip is a relatively short one for Camron Johnson.

The Scout four-star wide receiver can just hop in a car and make the trek straight across the state from Brentwood to Knoxville to hang out with Butch Jones and his team as Johnson looks for a place to play at the next level. 

It's a journey he's made before, twice in 2014 to watch Tennessee take on Missouri and Florida, and once last season as the Vols lost in a double overtime thriller against Oklahoma. This time around, the Brentwood Academy sophomore came on a blustery day in February for a star-studded Tennessee junior day on Feb. 20. 

"It was a great experience," Johnson told InsideTennessee. "It was a nice time to just see what the campus was like away from a game and see how the coaching staff is, and just see their personality some and to get to come and take a look at the facilities once again. I just came back up here because it was actually our first wekeend free from basketball and I wanted to come up here and just get a chance to see what UT was about aside from just a game day." 

It was Johnson's first junior day since his season ended in glory at the TSSAA Div. II Class AA state championship. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound prospect caught the game-winning two-point conversion in double overtime against Montgomery Bell Academy to end his season with a ring, finishing the game with eight catches for 124 yards, four kickoff returns for 72 yards and three rushes for 63 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown run.

Despite visiting Tennessee multiple times, Johnson took his most recent trip to get a feel for regular campus life without the pomp of game day. He also got to get to talk to the coaching staff in a more mellow environment. 

"Mostly I just saw what the coaches were like," Johnson said. "I could say what's up to them before a game and that was about it, so to get to really just talk to them and see what they were about and sort of meet them on more of a personal level than just 'Hi, we hope to see you here some day.'" 

The Vols are currently in competition with Auburn, Illinois, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt to land the class of 2018 prospect. Johnson is thinking about visiting both Auburn and Illinois in the spring, but familiarity might be Tennessee's calling card as it pursues the in-state star. Class of 2016 signee Ryan Johnson also attended Brentwood Academy and has been recruiting his former teammate ever since Johnson received his offer from the Vols. Rising junior defensive lineman Derek Barnett also went to Brentwood Academy before commiting to Tennessee.

"There are a lot more faces that I recognize here because of how many people have came here from BA," Johnson told IT. "It's definitely a place where I know if I were to come I would fit in right away because I know a lot of people ... That's definitely big, because if you're going to go to a college you're definitely going to want to know what the coaches are like outside of football. You want to have a relationship with them and be able to grow with them for life, so that's definitely big for me." 

While Johnson continues to snag offers like passes down the seam, he does think Tennesse stands out for its fan base and the amount of people he knows on campus.

"Just the game day atmosphere is definitely great," he said. "I would have a lot of friends here. That's definitely encouraging, and then just the whole sort of family atmosphere that you sort of get when you come to UT is just great ... I'm definitely interested in UT." 

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