Posted: 10:20 am Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

De’Joshua Johnson down to three finalists 

By Jason Lieser

It’s not very often a wide receiver says he does not want to play in the spread offense, but that preference helped Pahokee’s De’Joshua Johnson trim his list to three possible college destinations.


Johnson (5-11, 170, 4.37 seconds in the 40-yard dash) said he has close to 30 offers now but is turning down any school that runs the spread. He wants to play in a pro-style offense because he feels that gives him the best opportunity to be a high NFL draft pick.

With that in mind, Johnson said the three schools he is considering at this point are Florida State, Alabama and Oklahoma State. The Gators are out of the running.

“I dropped Florida and West Virginia because of the spread offense,” Johnson said. “I don’t want to play in the spread offense. I’ve seen how it affected receivers in the NFL draft. They have to teach them to play in a pro-style offense.”

He also dumped Michigan, which was a difficult decision since the Wolverines have three former Blue Devils on their roster and were the first team to offer Johnson.

“I’m not going to knock them, but (the spread is) why,” Johnson said. “That was my school for a while. That was my first written offer and all my teammates are up there. It would have been fun.”

He recently visited Alabama, along with new Pahokee teammate Chris Dunkley, and was very impressed by Nick Saban’s system and approach.

Johnson called Saban “a cool dude” and admired the no-nonsense style. The only problem with that is Johnson is very much prone to nonsense, and he admits it. Johnson is not a character problem by any means, but is a playful kid. Saban is unlikely to let him giggle his way through a practice.

Florida State has been and remains the favorite to sign him. Like a lot of Pahokee kids, he has grown up dreaming of playing for the Seminoles and it is difficult to imagine a school convincing him to abandon that thought. He has spoken publicly about playing for Florida State since early in his junior season.

As for his top three choices, don’t be surprised if that changes at some point. Schools like Southern California, Miami and Auburn still have a chance to make a run at Johnson.

In February, Johnson said he will not commit this spring. Instead he planned to wait until Sept. 27, which would mark the one-year anniversary of the death of former teammate Norman “Pooh” Griffith.

As a junior in 2008, Johnson spent most of the year at wide receiver before moving to quarterback during the playoffs. In the regular season, Johnson caught 26 passes for 489 yards and five touchdowns. He was named second-team all-area.

He is expected to start the season as Pahokee’s No. 1 quarterback, where he said he will continue to grip the ball on the non-laces side when he throws.