Gators Land a Big One

The Pancake Man wants to be a Florida Gator. Carl Johnson, the 6-5, 335-pound offensive tackle from Durham (NC) Southern, one of the nation's most highly recruiting offensive lineman committed to the Gators Saturday when he was in Gainesville for an unofficial visit.

"He told Coach Meyer and the rest of the staff about 6 p.m. that he was committing to the University of Florida," said Jeff Parker, Johnson's coach and adopted father. "He came down for the junior day down here and he really enjoyed the environment and the coaching staff and really liked everything and decided to go ahead and get all the pressure off with recruiting and concentrate on the season and academics and get ready to go."

Johnson's scholarship offers included Southern Cal, Texas, Michigan and Nebraska. His offers total more than 30 and he has received letters from nearly every Division I team. Parker says this will end the recruiting process.

"He was sure that he was tired of the process," said Parker. "Me and my staff came down here in the spring and saw some things and me and my wife have been talking to him a lot. He came down here and realized this is the place for him.

"When we get home we will sit down and sort out everything and let everybody know he committed today."

Carl Johnson pounded opponents unmercifully in 2004, registering 100 pancake blocks and grading 93 percent as Southern made it into the state playoffs. He is already fully qualified and is only four credits short of graduation. He plans to enroll in January.

"He will graduate and will be down here early in the spring next year," said Parker, who played defensive line at Clemson with NFL star Chester McGlockton. "He thought about a coupe of different majors, but he will see when he gets down here and figures out what he wants to do."

The big guy has turned in a scorching 5.0 40-yard dash although on a slow surface at the Durham Combine, he ran 5.48. He ran 4.75 in the short shuttle and an 8.43 in the three-cone drill, both excellent times and testament to his agility.

Johnson can bench press 380 pounds, squats 500 and he has posted a 29-inch vertical jump and a standing broad jump of 6-8.

"He is a special kid," said Parker. "He is bigger than most offensive linemen in that he is 6-6 and 345 … he's a big guy. He is a real athlete and can do some really special things at the tackle position because of his ability and the things he is able to do with his size. He has great feet and everything like that."

Now that the choice has been made, Parker says that Johnson is "just really happy to be a part of the Gator family."

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