Isaiah Johnson was a basketball player two years ago looking to go to a basketball school to play…
Maryland DT Commits to 'Cuse
Football was not plan A for Isaiah Johnson growing up, but it will enable him to attend a school he has always followed. On Thursday, the Elkton Christian Academy (Md.) defensive tackle committed to Syracuse, Head Coach Dwayne Thomas confirmed. Thomas explained how SU was always on Johnson's radar and how new Orange coach Donnie Henderson helped seal the deal. "He's got family from Buffalo, I think that had a lot to do with it," said the coach. "He was very familiar with Syracuse from a basketball stand point." "Donnie was an NFL guy and liked the kid, so he did a great job recruiting the kid. When you put it all together - family from Buffalo, liked Syracuse from a basketball standpoint and Donnie Henderson striking a good relationship with him based on his experience in the NFL - it kind of all worked out." For Johnson, who stands 6-foot-4, 270 pounds, the football aspect came into the picture during a routine workout and a coach from another Big East program noticed his talent. "We had a workout, and I told the coach that he's not a football player," said Thomas. "From there, he (Johnson) was inspired and started working out. He is very dedicated, and he started to see the possibilities of what football can do for him." "He played well for us last year, he's very physical at the point of attack." Johnson was a natural, but basketball helped with the transition. "From the hips down, he's a basketball player so he's athletically gifted for a kid his size," the coach added. "He's gotten so much stronger. His best years are ahead of him since he had such a strong commitment to basketball. "He was a project player, but he's such a gifted athlete at his size, his strength has caught up to his athletic ability as well as his knowledge of what needs to be done." Johnson chose the Orange over offers from Wake Forest, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Temple and others. .
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