Richard Johnson talks Wake Forest visit

Richard Johnson is a fast-rising prospect out of Walkersville, Md. The 6-foot-2, 228-pound outside linebacker wasn't on many people's radar at the start of the season, but he's seen his recruiting pick up after a solid senior campaign. Johnson took an unofficial visit to Wake Forest, one of the schools expressing their interest.

"Man, it was excellent," said Richard Johnson on his trip to the Winston-Salem campus. "The game day atmosphere was astonishing. I got to see them beat Maryland. This team like came out of nowhere this year and surprised a lot of people. My recruiting coach, Chris Barclay, was very helpful. It felt like I was with family. I loved it."

A big reason for Johnson's rise could very well be a switch from defensive tackle a more natural position of defensive end/outside linebacker. He had excellent production numbers with 68 tackles (36 solo), six sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery which he scooped up and scored in the South Carroll game.

"I felt like I was more hand-on with my technique," Johnson said. "I improved my speed and footwork, and I think it helped with my pass rush. A lot of it was just sticking to my assignments and outside containment responsibilities."

Johnson did it well against the best. In the game against Governor Thomas Johnson, who will play for a 3A Maryland State Championship, Johnson made nine tackles (five solo) and a sack in the Walkersville Lion victory. His play has garnered interest from regional universities like Wake Forest, North Carolina State, and Towson State, as well as schools as far-reaching as UCLA.

"The schools [showing interest] are asking for my senior highlights and senior transcripts," said Johnson. "I'm hoping to find a place that offers a good education and good campus life."

Walkersville fell to Middletown for the second time this season in the 2A quarterfinals. Still, it was the Lions who took a share of the Monocacy Valley Conference title and had their best season since 1992 to finish 10-2. Johnson plans to stay busy as he waits to hear back for possible offers.

"I'm going to be wrestling this winter at 215 [weight class]," said Johnson. "I'm going to be studying and working out. It's been surprising, but I've been hearing from 10 schools altogether. I'd love to get the opportunity to play at the next level."

Johnson has started for the Lions since the second game of his junior season. This past summer he shaved his 40-time down from a 4.7 to a 4.6. He wore jersey No. 51 for Walkersville and will graduate in May of 2012.

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