First pair in for Johnson

First pair in for Johnson

Oneonta (Ala.) High has made back-to-back runs to the class 4A state title game, but has fallen short in each finale. Still, the Redskins have been stout on both sides of the ball en route to each run and Jalen Johnson has done his part on both sides of the ball. Now, he's getting considerable recruiting attention including his first pair of offers.

At 6-foot-3, 193 pounds, there are plenty of things Jalen Johnson can do for a football team. He can carry the ball, catch it and maybe most impressively stop others from gaining yardage with it as a defender. The junior from Oneonta (Ala.) High may be courted as an athlete by several programs just as he is by the school most recent to offer him a scholarship.

"Southern Miss offered," he said on Thursday evening. "Coach [John] Wozniack told me to call him, so I did. He was talking about how they want me to come up for spring sometime and that all the coaches there like my film.

"Then they offered me. I think it's great, I've not been to Southern Miss yet, but I'm sure it's nice. It's a pretty good school."

The Golden Eagles are the second FBS offer for Johnson, who snagged one from Georgia Tech earlier in March.

"I was playing at PE (physical education) and my coach called me over there, and Coach [Mike] Pelton is good friends with my head coach Don Jacobs, and he showed me a message saying that they wanted to offer me.

"Then I went there on a visit, and they did it face-to-face."

The offer from the Yellow Jackets was big for the wide receiver/defensive back for many reasons other than it being his initial offer.

"I just like how you get good education and also, it's a pretty good football school, too," he said. "I'm going to their spring game."

Each school is looking at Johnson in a different role, and that is something that may continue throughout the process.

"Georgia Tech offered as a safety, Southern Miss said they'll recruit me as an athlete since they like me on both sides of the ball," he added. "If I choose to go there, they'll just see from there."

With back-to-back 900-plus yard receiving campaigns under his belt on offense, including 29 scores over the last two seasons, is Johnson's heart at wideout or on the other side where he contributed over 100 tackles and nine interceptions over the last two years?

"There's not really a certain one for me, I'm leaning towards defensive back," he admitted. "But wherever the team needs me, I'll play.

"I'm tall, I'm kind of quick and I'm physical."

No matter where he ends up playing, the major criteria for choosing a school is simply to mirror his success at Oneonta.

"Just a winning program, I love to win," he said. "I grew up winning, so I like it a lot.

"I just have to sit down and think about it a lot."

Johnson, who claims no favorites at this time, will take in Auburn's Junior Day on Saturday before making a return trip to Georgia "soon" in order to workout as a defensive back. LSU, Tennessee, Mississippi State and others are also currently interested in the two –way standout.

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