There may not be off days in football recruiting, but there are sick days.
Four-star Los Angeles (Calif.) Augustus Hawkins athlete Greg Johnson unfortunately had to take a couple of those last week. While a handful of Hawkins teammates took an unofficial visit to USC’s campus and got an opportunity to meet with the coaches, Johnson was under the weather and couldn’t leave home.
“I was sick like the past five days,” Johnson said on Saturday. “I'm kind of mad I didn't go up there last week. I’ve got to get up there. I’ve got to talk to them.”
“I'm real interested in USC. I just want to get to know the coaching staff a little bit more.”
Johnson said last week he had met new defensive backs coach Ronnie Bradford when Bradford stopped by Hawkins High to introduce himself to the coaching staff. Johnson was immediately enamored by Bradford’s ebullient personality.
“As soon as I ran into him. It's just the energy was there. 'What's up guy? What's up big guy? You've got some nice shoes on.' He was just happy, energetic, cool,” Johnson said with a chuckle.
“I think he’s a cool guy. I just need to watch him teach the other guys -- the guys there -- and know how he coaches. See what kind of coach he is. Me personally, I think he's a cool person.”
One player Johnson will be paying particular attention to is his former B2G Five-Star Blue 7-on-7 teammate, Jack Jones. Johnson wants to see what immediate impact Jones and other freshmen are able/allowed to have under Clay Helton and his new coaching staff.
“I want to see if they contribute early because that tells me that [USC] gets people on the field early. That's what I really want to do. When I'm in college, I want to contribute early. So if they can do that with all the talent they've got there now, I just feel like they are a contender for it.”
USC is among six schools that have been recruiting Johnson the hardest, along with Washington, UCLA, Arizona, Michigan and Tennessee. He said the recruiting process is starting to pick up, with him adding a scholarship offer to Hawai’i recently. But primarily it's the six schools that have remained consistent for him.
On the field, Johnson also tries to remain consistent. He continues to work at his craft though it would seem he sometimes has to stave off boredom to do it since even in 7-on-7 events teams that know of him choose not to throw in his direction.
”You just have to stay focused because I know they are going to try to take a shot,” Johnson said. “They're not going to wait the whole game and not throw towards you. You've just got to make the best of it and stay focused and stay into it.”
It helps that Johnson has his Hawkins teammates alongside him that he can laugh and make jokes with. While most wouldn't think going against the other team’s top receiver is fun, Johnson relishes in the opportunity, such as when he was asked to flip sides and cover Rancho Verde (Calif.) wideout Bryan Thompson when Thompson was routinely getting open in a matchup on Saturday.
Unafraid of the competition, Johnson lights up in those situations. Though he was still a bit under the weather, coughing in between plays on occasion, Johnson put the clamps on Thompson in the final moments of the game.
“The competitive juices start flowing. I just feel it. I know that he's a good player on the other side and they want me to try to lock him down. I know I'm going to try to do my best to lock him down.
“I feel like if the opposite player, the receiver, is feeling it and I'm feeling it, we're just going to go at it the whole time. That's competition. That's fun. That's always going to make things fun.”