A Top 15 for Johnson

He's got 36 offers from some of the top schools in the country and goes to one of the top academic schools in Florida, but Tampa Jesuit wide receiver Travis Johnson has managed to narrow his list to 15 schools. That list includes Wisconsin, which offered him yesterday before the first cut.

MADISON - After listening to Tampa Jesuit (Fla.) wide receiver Travis Johnson rattle off his daily schedule and his extracurricular activities, one would think the 6-2, 200-pounds athlete doesn't have time to sleep … ever.

Johnson plays varsity football in the fall, AAU basketball in the winter, plays 7-on-7 football for Team Tampa in the spring and summer, works out with his high school basketball team in the morning, usually works with his high school football team usually in the afternoon and has been doing that routine since his freshman year of high school.

Oh and the last time he checked, he had 36 scholarship offers to some of the premier schools in the country while attending one of the top five academic schools in the state of Florida.

"Here and there, I try to take an hour-and-a-half nap or so," Johnson told Badger Nation. "I just try to find time for it all, especially the school work so I didn't get too far behind. I haven't slept in in a long time."

If he's looking for somebody to blame for his coast-to-coast attention, it would be his head coach. Johnson started getting looks his sophomore year but when James Harell – who played for the Florida Gators from 1975-78 and had an eight-year NFL career – took over last season, Johnson started seeing the results.

Playing a tough schedule that compares to his school's tough academics, Johnson finished his junior year with 43 receptions for 656 yards and five touchdowns, as his head coach created a highlight tape for him to use and dialed up some of his old connections to get college assistants to take a closer look at his receiver.

"They said I was one of the game changers and they gave me the ball to do what I can," said Johnson. "I got pretty good film because of that. With my size, I am able to get out of my break and catch the high balls and the low balls and catching passes behind me. Having (Coach Harrell), I've developed good separation in my routes, but I know I have stuff to work on."

One thing Harrell knows he needs to concentrate on his recruitment. Sitting down with his family Sunday, Johnson has cut his list of offers down to a top 15 – Arkansas, Auburn, Cincinnati, Florida, Miami, Missouri, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Purdue, South Florida, USC and Wisconsin.

One of the surprises on that list is the Badgers, especially since Wisconsin just offered yesterday.

"I just like their program and what they can do," Johnson said of the Badgers. "They have the ground game which can set up the passing game, which is what I like about them mostly. I've heard they have a nice campus, which makes me excited to go check them out and see what they have when I get a chance."

Wisconsin is in Johnson's first cut despite all the communication between the wide receiver and the UW staff going mostly through his high school head school. Johnson says he plans on calling UW offensive coordinator Matt Canada Tuesday.

He would have done it tonight, but Johnson said he had to call back Oklahoma offensive coordinator Jay Norvell, USC coach Lane Kifflin, Florida receiver/recruiting coordinator Aubrey Hill and Miami offensive line coach Art Kehoe. "It's a lot of people to keep in touch with," said Johnson. "Jesuit has prepared me for that because it's all about preparing me for the future, keeping me organized and keeping me disciplined. It's going to help me in college and in life, and I appreciate that they accepted me."

The next phase of Johnson's recruitment is going to cut the list down to 10 next month after hopefully visiting some schools on his spring break, get the list down to four or five before the start of his senior season and take his officials before making his decision.

"I want to enjoy my senior year with my classmates," said Johnson.

He also wants to take full advantage of soaking in knowledge from his coaching staff. Like his recruitment, it's chalked full of impressive names.

"Vinny Testaverde has been helping us out because his son goes to our school and he's going to be our offensive coordinator this year," said Johnson. "That's definitely going to help me out because he's played every single level. I definitely can't go wrong with him because he knows what he's talking about having won the Heisman Trophy."


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