Derek Johnson is all about Texas

The lone out of state commit currently in the Texas Longhorn 2009 recruiting class is Hoxie defensive tackle Derek Johnson. The quick and explosive interior line prospect has fought off the instate pressure to play at Arkansas and is 100% committed to Texas. On Thursday afternoon in the Mustangs field house, Johnson sat down with Burnt Orange Beat to talk about a variety of topics.

Hoxie defensive tackle Derek Johnson is in an interesting position. He plays his high school football in the state of Arkansas, but will play his college ball at the University of Texas. Living in a state where the Longhorns are a hated rival dating back many years, the 6-2.5, 310-pounder faces the daily questions about whether he is going to change his mind.

Judging by the car he drove to the Hoxie Mustangs field house in, Johnson is solid as a rock. Sporting a silver Longhorn sticker that covers half of the back window and another Longhorn decal on the bumper for good measure, Johnson is all Texas and has zero problems letting people know it.

Burnt Orange Beat sat down with Johnson on Thursday to get his thoughts on his commitment, the future, goals and expectations and a variety of other topics in the Mustangs field house where the standout throws weights around on a daily basis.

Q: What put Texas over the top and led to you committing to the Longhorns?

A: The coaches are real nice. They remind me a lot of my high school coaches. The atmosphere - it reminds me of a place like home.

Q: How many visits have you made to Austin?

A: I would say four times now. I went to the Baylor game. It was pretty fun. I've never been to a game like that. I take my official visit next weekend.

Q: When you watch a Texas game, what players do you watch play?

A: I saw parts of games this year. I worked on the weekends, so I caught bits and pieces. I watch Roy Miller though and he's good. I watch his technique and how he switches and uses his hands.

Q: Have schools backed off of you since your commitment or are there some programs still trying to sway you?

A: Yeah, Fayetteville (Arkansas) is still trying to talk to me. I'm not interested, but they are trying hard.

Q: What Texas coaches do you speak with on a regular basis? What do the conversations involve?

A: Coach Tolly (Tolleson) and Coach Giles. We talk about a lot of stuff. They are always making sure I'm still coming and what I can expect when I get there.

Q: Do you get a lot of grief in school and around the town about the decision to play for the hated rival of Arkansas?

A: Some people don't like it and some do. I have somebody everyday asking me if I'm going to change my mind, but it's not going to happen.

Q: Do you wear Longhorn gear around?

A: I have a jersey and a Longhorn sticker on the back of my car, but it is okay. Everything is fine. People support me.

Q: When did you move to Hoxie? Where did you live prior to the move?

A: I moved to Hoxie my freshman year. I've been here all through high school. I lived in El Paso for five years before that.

Q: Did you become a Longhorn fan when you lived El Paso?

A: Not really. I started liking Texas my freshman year. It was the year they won the title.

Q: How would you grade your performance this season?

A: I would give myself a "B". I didn't have as many tackles as I would have liked to have. The majority of the teams ran away from me, so I guess that didn't help.

Q: Was it difficult to keep playing hard the entire season with teams rarely running your way? Was it frustrating?

A: Yes. The only times teams ran at me was when I switched sides (defensive end) and they didn't know. It makes me upset because I love to play, but I also love to tackle. Just running after the ball all night without the chance to make tackles kind of sucks.

Q: Did you have a play this year in which you weren't double teamed?

A: Not one.

Q: What are the positives in your eyes dealing with a double team every snap?

A: The way I figure it, the more aggressive I play, the harder it is for people to block me. That allows two teammates to be free and go get the football.

Q: What are your strengths as a player? What areas do you feel can be improved?

A: I get after it. I never take a break when I play. I just love to play football. I think I need to get a little faster, learn college technique and be more aggressive. I think I need to work on staying a little lower too. A couple of pass rushes moves too. That's about it.

Q: What are you doing now that the season is over?

A: I'm just lifting weight and trying to run when I can. I'm working a lot to save money.

Johnson will be back on the football field January 2 playing in the offense vs. defense all-star game in Myrtle Beach, SC. He leaves for South Carolina on December 28.


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