Johnson is already envisioning himself wearing the cardinal and gold and doing so beside his older brother, Greg Johnson, who will be attending USC in the fall. He made it mandatory that he got to campus to see the first practice in full pads. He wanted to see the players go head to head. He wanted the hear the pads pop and feel the energy and excitement around the program as the Trojans come off a dramatic Rose Bowl victory.
“I feel the energy was there, everything was there,” Johnson said. “The guys competed well. I liked what I saw.”
The 5-foot-9.5, 160-pound four-star that played running back, wide receiver and cornerback for Los Angeles (Calif.) Augustus Hawkins also wanted to see the coaches work up close. He was taking notes on what the coaches said, what they liked and what they did not approve of.
“I just want to see how the coaches are with the players. What makes them mad? What makes them happy? Knowing when a coach tells you something, you know you've got to listen, so I just watch how the players do.
“I see the older guys doing it the right way. Of course, I'm going to come in and I'm going to follow in their footsteps because if they do everything right and it plays out, then if I do the same thing, it's only bound to happen for me too, so I just think like that.”
Though he plays several positions in high school, Johnson is most likely to play cornerback at the next level, so he paid particular attention to USC defensive backs coach Ronnie Bradford and how he focused on the minute details.
“I love the coach that he is. He's going to try his best to compete and when it's his time to compete against the receivers, he's going to do his best; he’s going to coach his guys up,” Johnson said.
“He's going to sharpen his guys up. He wants to be the best and he's ready to compete against the best. That right there only helps them better, if they know it or not. It's going to get them better and it's going to make them become what they want to be and that's champions.”
Not only did Johnson notice Bradford’s competitiveness, but Johnson also enjoyed the enthusiasm with which Bradford coaches.
“He brings a lot of energy. You need that in a corner coach. You need a lot of energy because a person with a lot of energy you know he's confident in himself. He feels he's good in his game. It helps him play better, so once he brings that energy to the DBs and it's time to work, they go to work.”
Before he gets to campus, Marcus will get to see how Bradford treats Greg and watch as his older brother goes through the rigors of his freshman year in college.
“I just love watching every moment of it,” Marcus said of Greg preparing to head up the street to USC. “I know when he gets there, it's only going to make me more anxious to get there. That's going to push me. That's going to be like a motivation factor too.
“That's going to make me want to go even harder. I'm going to see the big things he's doing and of course I'm going to want to accomplish those or maybe even pass the goals he set just to better myself as a player and a person.”
To make himself better as a player, Marcus is working specifically on improving his wheels this offseason. He wants to get faster, stronger and said his goal is to “keep doing things the right way and just remain focused.”
“Everything is going to fall into place if that happens.”
Follow Shotgun on Twitter: @ShotgunSpr