Monday night I had the opportunity and pleasure to speak with UNLV's newest commit, Chandler, Arizona High School wide receiver, Johnny Johnson. JJ, who is 6'1 and 198 pounds, talked to me about what made him decide to commit to UNLV and why the Rebels may have a diamond in the rough with one of the most underrated receivers in the nation.
I love JJ's attitude, confidence, skill set and the way he plays the game. He is fearless when making a catch, a very good route runner and takes pride in his blocking. He plays football with a chip on his shoulder and is the type of player that doesn't shy away from contact. He has a "swag" about him that comes off with just the right blend of arrogance and confidence that will have him beloved by his teammates, coaches and Rebels fans. He is a very good player, and I feel one that is very underrated.
What made you choose UNLV over the other schools that offered you?
First of all they showed a lot of interest. I loved the "at home" feeling and how the coaches showed me a lot of love, and they were authentic with me. That "at home" feeling was also big for me and the city (of Las Vegas) reminded me a lot of Arizona which was big too. I could also see myself getting some playing time as a true freshman, so that played a role as well.
Did you want to make a decision sooner rather than later?
I was really looking for a place that felt like home and I see guys lose offers because they wait too long and I didn’t want to lose that home feeling because I waited. I also didn’t want that pressure of having my recruitment lingering over my head all season because I want to focus on winning a state championship.
What are the goals you set for yourself for this season and going forward?
I would like to have over 1,000 yards, 19td’s and over 69 catches (which would be a record). 10 pancake blocks is a must and no more than 5 drops all year. I want to make as many big plays as I possibly can. I want to win a state championship with my teammates and show the nation that they are sleeping on my ability and play with a chip on my shoulder.
Scout.com rated you as the 3rd best WR in the state of Arizona. How do you feel about that?
I feel that I am very much underrated; I feel I am the best WR in AZ. I am more physical then any WR in high school in Arizona. I can do it all, I can catch, block, juke and make big plays. I feel my game is better suited for college because I am more physical than most high school wide receivers.
What are you strengths and what are your weaknesses?
I have great hands and will do anything to get the ball. I am strong and am physical and still have quickness and have great feet. I love to block and also break a DB down. My weaknesses are, hum, I’ve never been asked this, it’s a great question. I might be too aggressive and over shoot when blocking. I am a perfectionist and try to do everything right. I would like to have just a little more finesse; I try to bully DB’s.
Why do you think you’re underrated?
I think I’m underrated because I came in the recruiting game late. I went to a smaller school my freshman and sophomore years and got to Chandler late. I’ve always had the natural ability to play, but Chandler helped pinpoint my ability and take the next level. I believe I can compete and compare with ANY 5 star player out there because I have the same abilities as they do. My level of game has changed so much, people will know soon!!
It seems like you really took a liking to UNLV Head Coach Tony Sanchez and his staff. How has the way they recruited you effect how you feel towards UNLV?
It really pulled me in. From the start they showed me a lot of love. Coach Cotton really believes in my ability and after watching me and talking with me after practice he said he really liked my abilities. Coach Cotton stayed in contact with me after showing the other coaches my film and the next thing I know they offered me and have remained in contact with me. Coach Sanchez also has stayed in contact with me and that means a lot coming from the head coach. You don't see that too often, if ever and it meant a lot to me. It made me feel that I am really loved by them (the whole staff) and not every college does that.
What is your message to Rebels fans?
Be ready because when I come I plan on having a breakout freshman season! Be ready for me, I plan on balling out and helping the Rebels continue on be a team on the rise and being a future title contender!!