June 19, 2008

Sun Devils offer SoCal WR following camp

Taylor Lewan wasn't the only player Arizona State extended a scholarship offer to following Sunday's Maroon and Gold Camp. One of the top wide receivers in the Southwest was in attendance and by the time he'd left Tempe, the Sun Devils had joined the list of serious suitors.

Valley Central (Calif.) athlete James Johnson earned MVP among the wide receivers at the Oregon Nike Camp less than two weeks ago and the 6-foot-0, 180-pounder put his talent on display for ASU coaches. Johnson has very good feel for the position; he runs good routes and catches balls in traffic. He's not the speediest receiver (4.59 40-yard dash), but he's quick enough and shifty enough to make plays and hurt defenses in the open field.

"I think it went well," Johnson said of the ASU camp. "They offered, so that was good. The only thing was that it was really hot out there. Like really hot. But they told me about the bubble they're building and everything so I think that's a good thing. I didn't get to see the campus and visit with the coaches as much as I wanted to because I had a flight to catch back home. But I liked the area and everything and I had a lot of fun."

Johnson, who is being recruited to ASU by Grady Stretz, said he also had offers from Colorado, Colorado State, Oregon, San Diego State and Utah. His current top five consists of ASU, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and USC. He will attend the Trojans' upcoming Rising Stars camp next week in an effort to earn a scholarship from the only team in his top five not to have offered as yet.

"I just day in and day out want to keep working hard and continuously get better," Johnson said. "That's really what it's all about to me, just being the best player I can be and that's a continuous process. I couldn't care less about the MVPs and all of that, it doesn't mean anything to me right now at this level where I'm at. I have to get a whole lot better to be able to accomplish my [long term] goals."

One of his strongest attributes, Johnson said, is his willingness to do whatever is necessary for his team, and his ability to fill an assortment of roles.

"I think I'm a very versatile player," he said. "I can play offense, I can play defense. As a receiver, I can play the inside receiver, the outside receiver, the slot, whatever it is. That's my strength I think, just my versatility as a player. Most schools are recruiting me as an athlete. I'm comfortable with that. I'm willing to do anything to help the team. I just want to win and get better."

Johnson said he would likely take a couple official visits early in the fall before making a decision, but that he'd rather make his selection before the heart of his team's football schedule.

"The education part of it is important in my decision," Johnson said. "I have to go somewhere that I'll be able to feel like I'm getting a good education and that it matters at the school I'm at. With football, I want to get good coaching and be on a team that is going to do well. I also want to be around a bunch of good guys because when you're around people like that it helps to make you a better person and it helps you be more successful."

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