Coug walk on QB befriending the beef

PULLMAN -- Cougar walk on quarterback Conner Johnson seems to be a student of the game, and in more ways than one. He's been befriending the right people since arriving in Pullman this summer.

"I've been hanging out with Sam Flor and Pierson Villarrubia a lot since I got here, we just went to Spokane Hoopfest together. Hanging with the big guys will help me when I get on the field," Johnson chuckled.

As an invited walk on, Johnson said he's been treated exactly like a scholarship player, attending the same orientation, classes and scheduled to partake in the same voluntary workout and throwing sessions.

Most of Johnson's time so far has been focused on the Summer Advantage program, a 6-week expedited course load that earns incoming students a quick six credits. "They're pretty easy classes," Johnson said. "We're taking an English class and a rock ‘n' roll history class."

FOR JOHNSON, THE chance to come in as a preferred walk-on into Mike Leach's offense was an opportunity he couldn't refuse.

"Honestly, what isn't attractive about Leach's offense?" Johnson said. "He's an innovator, he likes to throw the ball. Since I happen to be a quarterback, why wouldn't I want to throw the ball around?"

Johnson, a product of University High in Spokane, threw for 2,215 yards in 2011, and hopes to emulate that success at Washington State.

"As far as Leach has told me, I'll redshirt this year," Johnson said. "If I can get past the sidelines and get on the field, I'll do anything to make it happen."

VOLUNTARY SUMMER WORKOUTS are starting back up this week for the Cougs after last week off. Johnson and QB Austin Apodaca have talked a little bit but have spent no concentrated time together, though that figures to change in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, Johnson said he's having fun meeting the new guys.

"There's a bunch of good guys around here," Johnson said. "It's nice to connect right off the bat with all of my teammates. Pullman is a good time."

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