Posted: 6:04 am Wednesday, February 18th, 2009
By Jason Lieser
Pahokee wide receiver De’Joshua Johnson expected to announce his college commitment this May. After watching former teammate Nu’Keese Richardson’s last-minute switch from Florida to Tennessee, Johnson is having second thoughts.
Johnson (5-11, 170) is a highly-recruited wide receiver who likely will start this spring as the Blue Devils’ quarterback. He has at least a dozen scholarship offers already, including UF, Tennessee, Florida State, Miami, Alabama and Michigan.
Richardson committed to the Gators last May, but changed his mind and picked Tennessee after a late-January recruiting visit. Blue Devils coach Blaze Thompson hoped Richardson’s situation would serve as a caution to Pahokee’s younger players and it has. Johnson said this week he will wait until September to declare a college commitment.
Johnson said he would like to make that announcement on Sept. 27, the one-year anniversary of former teammate Norman Griffith’s death. Griffith was shot and killed hours after Pahokee’s homecoming win over Jupiter last season.
“It’s in remembrance of Norman, and I think I’ll have my mind made up by then,” Johnson said.
As far as his actual recruitment, this could be a case study of the quick-forgive nature of college recruiting. It appears Tennessee’s handling of Richardson’s signing will not affect Johnson. Volunteers coach Lane Kiffin circumvented Thompson and then made derogatory remarks toward the town of Pahokee and the high school after landing Richardson.
Johnson said he personally was not bothered by Kiffin’s remarks and Tennessee has the same opportunity to sign him as the rest of the schools who have offered scholarships.
“I’m open to Tennessee,” Johnson said. “I heard about the comments that he made and I’m going to talk to him about it, but Tennessee’s a good school.”
It has always been Johnson’s dream to play for the Seminoles, but it is far too early to call FSU the frontrunner. Michigan already has three ex-Pahokee players on its roster, which certainly will appeal to Johnson, and the Blue Devils always have had a good relationship with West Virginia and its staff.
There is also a chance a darkhorse school like South Florida, Rutgers or North Carolina State — all of which have offers in — could convince Johnson with the promise of earlier playing time. He still is hoping to hear from programs like Southern Cal and Auburn as well.