Diamond in the Surf

File this under B for "Best football prospect you've never likely heard of" — unless you've heard the name Orihan Johnson, which the type of name you're likely to remember — just as he's the type of athlete you won't soon forget.

His stats are respectable but his talent and potential are sensational. His numbers are also understandable given he has become a victim of this own physical gifts. He went from starting safety, and the Pirates' Defensive Player of the Year, to starting quarterback as a junior because that's where Boca Ciega High School needed him most.

"I was the only one left that had played quarterback, so I went out there and did that," Johnson said. "I've enjoyed it. I like having the ball in my hands when the game is on the line."

Directing an offense that was newly overhauled from an option attack to a more conventional scheme, Johnson passed for 700 yards and added another 200 on the ground in 2006. As a senior he threw for 1,100 yards and 15 touchdowns against six INTs, helping his team to an 8-3 record and the state playoffs.

However the most significant numbers concerning Orhian Johnson are related to his size, speed and athletic quotient. He checks in at 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, runs a 4.51 time in the 40 and boasts a 40-inch vertical leap. He benches 225 pounds and squats 385. Some schools are recruiting him as a quarterback. Some, like Tennessee, are recruiting him as an athlete first and QB second. He could also play safety or wide receiver in college.

"Playing quarterback is important because I really like playing quarterback, but I know I can play a lot of other positions as well," Johnson told Scout.com's Yancey Porter. "Coaches are smart, so they'll find the best place for me. I can't say I will only play quarterback, I need to go out and make the best of it so I can get on the field."

According to Scout.com's Jamie Newberg, Johnson has the talent to become a high-caliber QB on the next level, as he laid in the following scouting installment after seeing him in a September game against Dunedlin High School.

"Orhian Johnson is an athletic quarterback with a big arm. He has the ability to throw all the passes, including the deep out across the field. Make no mistake about it, his arm strength is impressive. He can also throw with touch when needed. Johnson just needs to work on his accuracy and also needs a little help from his receivers. There were several dropped balls in this game but he also missed some open targets and at times was high with his throws. Johnson is also deadly in the pocket, where he displays great quickness and can make things happen when things break down. Johnson can evade the initial rush and buy time. He also shows poise and good field vision in trying to locate secondary receivers. Overall, he looks like a signal caller with lots of upside and seems like he would be a great fit in a spread type of offense to showcase his throwing and running abilities. Sure Johnson needs to work on some little things but this is a prospect that should have a bright future ahead of him."

Johnson, who reports a 3.4 core GPA and a 17 on the ACT is currently listed as the nation's No. 48 signal caller in the Class of 2008, and is drawing a lot of interest and offers. He currently has offers from Indiana, Ohio State, South Florida, Florida International, Western Kentucky, Kansas, Tennessee, Memphis, Boston College and Ole Miss. His favorites appear to be South Florida, Kansas, Tennessee and Ohio State which are all likely to get visits.

"It's SEC ball," he told Allen Wallace of Tennessee in a November interview. "They always have great players and they've had a pretty good season and could be playing for an SEC championship this year."

Johnson made an unofficial visit to Knoxville this summer and attended the Tennessee-Florida game in Gainesville. He expects to announce his decision near national signing day at which time the Vols should have an offensive coordinator in place.


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