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January 11, 2011From the very beginning of the recruiting process, Ocala (Fla.) Trinity Catholic three-star safety Chris Johnson has always been a Gator, he was simply waiting on an offer to make it official. Once he received that offer, and made his commitment, there was no way he was backing away from his chance to attend the University of Florida and don the Orange & Blue, regardless of who was or wasn't coaching the UF football team.
"It was real good, it was a lot more than I expected, a lot better" said Johnson of his official visit to Florida. "My family enjoyed it and I enjoyed it. Talking to the coaches, that was one good thing. And the food, the food was awesome."
Johnson's commitment was strong before officially visiting Florida this past weekend, and after spending time with his new position coach, Travaris Robinson, it was solidified even more - if that is even possible.
"It was good that we got to talk and feel each other out. The good thing about it is that as much as it's going to be my first year, it's going to be his first year too," said Johnson of his new coach. "He's learning just like I am. We talked about some of the expectations and what they think about me after watching film and that nothing is given to you and telling me basically to come in and work hard and be humble."
When asked about his impression of Robinson, Johnson responded, "He's very funny. He kind of reminds me of my old coach Ricky Nattiel. He's very motivated and has a lot of energy. He's serious when it's time to be serious and jokes when it's time to joke. He's a straight up guy and made a good impression on me and my family."
After Urban Meyer decided to step down, a couple of Florida commitments bailed on the UF program and a couple of more are still looking around and taking other official visits. Though he has other offers, Johnson said there is no chance of him wavering on his pledge to the Gators.
"It's been over and done with," Johnson said of his recruiting process. "When I first made my decision [to commit to Florida], it was over and done with then. I'm not a guy to decommit, I've always been a Gator. They ask me the question of why I like Florida and I say, 'what's not to like?' It's not just on the field, it's off the field too."
One reason for a safety prospect to like UF on the field is the depth chart at the position. With Florida set to enter next season without 2010 starting safeties Ahmad Black Will Hill - the depth chart is wide open entering fall camp. Because of that, youngsters such as Johnson will have an opportunity to earn a spot in the rotation.
"You can't come in with a big head saying, 'hey I'm going to start' you still have to come in and learn the system and be aware of everything, but it does give me more motivation to work hard knowing I've got that chance to maybe start."
Johnson, who was hosted by freshman cornerback Cody Riggs, said he hung around the most with defensive tackle prospect Elkino Watson out of Miami (Fla.) Washington.