Sophomore Los Angeles (Calif.) Augustus Hawkins cornerback Marcus Johnson has been surprised by the attention he’s received from college football programs already.
With two of the top receivers in the country and an older brother that is one of the top cornerbacks on the West Coast, the 5-foot-10, 160-pound Johnson isn’t new to the recruiting process. He’s seen his teammates be courted by several schools and expected his time to come, but not this quick.
“I didn’t know these offers were going to come this early," Johnson said. "When they did, it was kind of a shock, but I was very excited about it and I’m ready to just keep getting more.”
Johnson’s offer sheet has ballooned from three to nine in a manner of a few weeks with local USC jumping in the mix last week with another offer that caught him off guard. Johnson and several of the Hawkins stars visited USC to check out spring practice two weeks ago and the coaching staff let him know there was definite interest, but Johnson didn’t expect that interest to manifest into an offer in less than a week.
“We just talked to the coaches and we just walked around through the practice and stuff. We also had a conversation with the head coach in his office. One of the recruiters was telling me and my teammates we’re sorry because there were a couple of us in the room that didn’t have a scholarship and they were working on that at the moment. That opened my eyes.”
On Monday, USC followed through.
“I thought it was big. I definitely didn’t see it coming at that moment because they told me they would work on it. I didn’t think they would get it that fast. It was always a school I wanted to have a scholarship from. When I got it, I had my mind blown. I was real excited.”
“USC has always been around. That was probably one of the first schools I talked to, being that they are down the street. They are always a team in mind. I love their facilities and we always feel at home when we’re up there. They just treat us real good.”
Marcus’ four-star older brother, Greg Johnson, is a 2017 commit to Arizona and the Wildcats have already offered Marcus as well, hoping to snag a pair of Johnsons. But Marcus says he isn’t a package deal.
“I just want schools to know that I’m open to anybody as far as recruiting. Just because my brother committed to Arizona, it doesn’t mean it’s going to have an influence on [my recruitment] because I’m going to take it all the way to the end and when it comes down to it, I’m going to pick the school that is best for me, not where everyone else wants.”
While the brothers would love to play together at the next level as well, Greg has advised Marcus to take the recruiting process slow and make sure he finds the right fit rather than jumping in just to follow someone else’s footsteps.
Regardless of where they each end up going to school, Marcus and Greg will remain close. Marcus said they do “everything together,” especially when it comes to football.
“We always watch film together and try to break the other teams down. Pretty much everything he knows, I know so whenever someone messes up, we can easily correct each other.”
While they are brothers, Marcus and Greg have very different games. While Greg wants to immediately get his hands on receivers so he can use his physicality, Marcus prefers to rely on technique. He’s focus is on eye discipline and matching the feet of the wide receiver.
Both Johnson brothers get great work at practice facing off against two of the top receivers in the country in Joseph Lewis and Jalen Hall.
“It’s very competitive, but it also helps when I come out [to 7-on-7 tournaments] because I can bring the game back out here. It just makes it easier for me because I'm so used to facing those guys.”
You can expect the battle for Marcus Johnson’s collegiate services to be very competitive too.