Johnson: Overshadowed

While the big-name athletes stole the headlines of the All-American Combine held in Durham a few weeks back, a sleeper posted solid combine numbers and dominated the one-on-one drills.

Josh Johnson, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound wide receiver from Newland (N.C.) Avery, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.78 seconds and 20-yard shuttle in 4.38 seconds on a ravished grass field. More notably, Johnson put on one of day's best performances during one-one-one passing drills rivaling combine MVP Chris Bell.

"Josh was one of more impressive wide receivers during the one-on-one drills showing strong hands and the ability to shield defenders," said Scout.com East Recruiting Analyst Miller Safrit. "He's not a kid that will wow you with combine numbers; he's just a football player plain and simple. He runs good routes, and is very coachable."

Those concepts have forced college coaching staffs to take notice. Tennessee, N.C. State, Maryland, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Appalachian State, and North Carolina have all begun to recruit Johnson.

With track season and combines taking up much of his time, Johnson has only unofficially visited Tennessee and Appalachian State for their spring games. He does, however, plan to attend many summer camps including revisiting Knoxville.

Still early in the process, Johnson is open to any school presenting an opportunity.

"He just wants to go some place where he can contribute and win," said Coach Buchanan of Avery High School. "The main thing is he wants to go some place where he'll play.

Whoever does land Johnson this February is not only getting a dominating receiver, but a player with unmatched work ethic.

"He's tough – he's got the heart of a lion," said Buchanan. "No one outworks him, he puts his time in. He's the most committed, hardest working kid I've ever seen. Stats don't matter, Ws matter. If we win by 38 points and he caught only one ball, he is happy. "

Attaining stats shouldn't be a problem next season with Avery High School moving to a spread offense attack with the focal point of getting the ball to Johnson more often during the game. In more of a run oriented offense, Johnson caught 50 passes for 800 yards last season. He also led the team in tackles and picked off eight passes from his free safety position.


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