Armijo athlete a handful

When it comes to small-school players looking to make a big splash on the D1 recruiting scene, look no farther than Fairfield, California. Aaron Johnson, a 6-6, 255-pound athlete for Fairfield (Calif.) Armijo didn't get the ball a lot as a junior but that will change this year. Want to know why? How about written scholarship offers from 10 Division-one schools? That will probably get his coach's attention.

"I like tight end better," Johnson told "We didn't throw to the tight end much last year. I only had 5 catches, but I gained 177 yards." He also plays defensive end for Armijo. His best 40 is 4.79 and has a 405-pound bench and 255-pound power clean to his credit. He also has jumped 32 inches in the vertical leap.

"Coaches say I have really good hands and my blocking skills are good," Aaron said. "If there's something they need me to do, I'll absorb it like a sponge and do it right away. I'm a go-to guy. The coaches know they can count on me to get the ball and make a first down or make something big."

Washington, Washington State, USC, UCLA, Oregon, Oregon State, Utah, BYU, Nebraska, Arizona, Arizona State and Cal are the schools recruiting Johnson the hardest right now, with Washington, Washington State, Oregon, USC, Idaho, Boise State, New Mexico State, Arizona, BYU and Utah having already offered scholarships in writing.

There's a reason he lists the Huskies and Cougars at the top of the above lists. They are his leaders. "The two Washington schools are probably my two top schools. Washington State and the University of Washington." Aaron and his family lived in Tri-Cities for a couple of years. His Mother lives in Virginia and he just found out that she's getting ready to move to Seattle. Does that bode well for UW? "The only person that's gotten a chance to see me play is my Dad," Johnson said. "My Mom hasn't seen me play. My Grandpa hasn't seen me play. That is a school I want to go to because then they all can see me play."

Even though Aaron insists he hasn't made a decision, Rick Neuheisel is making it tough for the big man to refuse. "He called me up and he said that he's been hearing a lot of good things about me and that he wanted to offer me a scholarship," Johnson said about a conversation he had with the Washington Head Coach back in May. "That's the school I've always wanted to go to. I have family that lives up in Washington and we talked about that. He talked a lot about what position they want me to play and that he's looking forward to recruiting me and getting me up there this fall."

Aaron still chuckles a little bit thinking about the ride. "I was really suprised, because ever since I was a boy I wanted to go to that school," he said. "Basically my whole family lives in Washington and I grew up in Washington. My uncle wanted to go to Washington but he couldn't make it and went to New Mexico instead. My grandpa always told me that if you were going to play for one school, play for Washington. I watch all their games and I like their program. I read up on them all the time and it's a real good school to go to."

Plans are about to be made for official visits to both Washington and Washington State. "Coach Neuheisel wants me to come up in December," he said. "Washington State wants me to come up after a football game in the middle of my season. September 1st they will call me up to see what date to schedule."

Aaron went to the 2002 NoCal NIKe camp and Armijo's team camp was at SJSU Spartan camp, where he earned first-team and MVP honors. Top Stories