The University of Mississippi, Minnesota, and Iowa have been nipping at the heels
of Will Johnson
since the start of the recruiting process. The Minnesota native
visited all three colleges recently with Iowa being his latest and last stop.
"It was a good trip," Johnson said a few days after arriving back from
Iowa City. "It was a lot different than my first trip because I had already
been there before and knew what I wanted to look at this time. I already knew
so much about Minnesota and that gave me a chance to know what to look for at
the other schools like Iowa and Ole Miss."
Johnson knew there were five issues he wanted to learn about on each of his trips.
"I just want to know how well I am going to get along with their coaches
and players first of all. I like to see what the atmosphere is like around town
and look at their depth charts and see how they use their tight ends."
What were the coaches like at Iowa?
"I got to talk to the head coach for a while and got to know him better.
I spoke to Coach Johnson (tight end coach) about their depth chart and how they
use their tight ends. They kind of use them as a true tight end. They block a
lot and catch a lot of passes. They are bringing in three true freshmen tight
ends this year, and have three more tight ends on their squad, but there is going
to be competition no matter where I go. You are going to have to beat out some
good players wherever you go if you want to play at the highest level."
Iowa's track record with tight ends is appealing for Johnson.
"I like how many tight ends they have sent to the NFL. I guess that is what
stands out about them the most for me. Every senior starting tight end that has
graduated from there with their current coaching staff has made it to the NFL
except for this last one .I just like how many players they send to the NFL."
The familiarity with Minnesota makes them unique.
"They are the closest school to home. I have gotten to know their coaches
so well because I have been around them more than everybody else. They were the
first school to start recruiting me."
Ole Miss' two scholarship tight ends are seniors this year and that brings him
playing time opportunities.
"I just have a real good chance to come in there and play as a freshman in
the SEC. You are competing against the best in the SEC. They also have great coaches
down there. They do not have a lot of depth at tight end, and I would have a good
chance to play early and be coached by some great coaches."
Two more colleges might get a visit this summer from the talented tight end.
"Right now I am debating about going over to Michigan State and Vandy. I
am definitely open to more schools but right now I do not have anymore trips planned."
What is going on with Michigan State?
"I think they want to get me over there so they can meet me in person before
offering. My recruiter from there told me that their head coach likes to meet
the person face to face before offering. I do not know. They just signed a tight
end so I do not know if they are going to offer me or not, but they sent some
coaches to my school to come watch me play this spring. They have been showing
me a lot of interest."
Vandy is actually located in the city he was born.
"I am actually from Nashville. We moved away when I was like three or four,
but that is where I am from. They checked out my film and really liked it. They
are sending it to their head coach. He wants me to come down there and talk about
Will still has not set a definitive timeframe on a decision but he has one in
"I really would like to get this over before the start of my season. I want
to be totally dedicated to my team this year and try and win a state championship.
I would like to not have to worry about all of that stuff. That would be ideal
for me, but I can't promise that I will have it by then."
Yancy Porter is the Mississippi Scout for Scout.com and he can be reached at