Badgers Target Gillins' Teammate

Having already snagged Jacksonville (FL) Jean Ribault's senior quarterback, the Wisconsin coaching staff is trying to get one of the school's linebackers, as Jakob Johnson received an offer from the Badgers Monday night.

Jacksonville (FL) Jean Ribault senior linebacker Jakob Johnson is not your average high school football player.

Originally from Germany, Johnson always had the dream of playing football in America, but wasn't sure if he was going to have the abilities and skill set to play here. A couple months into it, it's fair to say that even Johnson has surprised himself with the way he's already surpassed his own expectations.

"I moved to America because of football," Johnson told BadgerNation. "This has been the sole motivation. In Germany going to college is free, so I can always go back to that, but in Germany playing football doesn't get you nowhere, so I wanted to give it a shot here.

"I really like it here. The football is faster and there is more talent on each side of the ball. Lifestyle wise I had to adjust to the heat and humidity down here, but the transition hasn't been a big problem for me. I am living the dream, no doubt. This is really big for me. When I sat on the plane I wasn't even sure if I could make it on a high school roster.

"I was really nervous when that first practice came, but then I saw that I was actually bigger than most of my teammates and that I could compete."

While he admits that he is still trying to catch to American football, Johnson may not be too far behind, especially since the 6-4, 200-pound linebacker picked up an offer from the three-time defending Big Ten champions on Monday night.

"Our practice was just wrapping up and my coach was on the phone with Coach Aranda from Wisconsin," Johnson said. "My coach told me to come over and speak to him. Coach Aranda basically told me that they got a scholarship for me. He told me that he could see me as an outside linebacker or a defensive end. I am just really excited and want to keep on playing a good season."

The offer from Wisconsin joins offers from Idaho, Tennessee and Tulane for Johnson. He also has visited Florida State, plans to visit Miami for a game this month and has been hearing from Auburn, Duke and South Florida.

The Badgers stand out, however, because of Johnson's relationship with Wisconsin quarterback commit and his teammate D.J. Gillins, who has been influential in helping Johnson make a smooth transition into football and Florida.

"We connected from day one," Johnson said. "It's not every day I see a quarterback that is as tall and strong as me. D.J. is one of the best players I have seen. I think besides all his physical abilities that makes him good, it's his mindset. That's what made us close friends. He is dedicated and takes the game serious.

"I mean just last Friday we were down by three touchdowns and he got sacked all night, but he doesn't quit. He makes stuff happen and in the last drive he ran with the ball and knocked a safety out. After that got up and threw a touchdown.

"D.J. wants me to come with him to Wisconsin and I think he introduced them to me. I would like to play with him. I mean all this is new to me anyways, so knowing someone would definitely help. I know it's big school and D.J. told me the atmosphere and the fan base are great."

Johnson has been putting up good numbers with 26 tackles and an interception so far through his first three games. With many recruits starting to narrow down their decisions and even make decisions, Johnson is taking his time, and now wants to schedule a visit to Wisconsin.

"I definitely want to take a visit there and D.J. has told me a lot of things about how Wisconsin has a great atmosphere up there, so I would really like to go there," said Johnson. "Wisconsin and Tennessee are my two biggest offers for sure. I don't really know which school is leading or which is on top, but those two are my biggest offers."

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