Exavier Johnson, the 6-foot-3, 195 pound quarterback from Birmingham Senior High School in Van Nuys, Calif., said he already has scholarship offers from Nebraska and Ole Miss - but has his eyes set on the Golden Bears of Berkeley.
“I want to go to Cal,” said Johnson, firmly. “I have followed Cal for a long time. I like their program and their style of offense. They have had some great quarterbacks come out of there and I know I could bring a lot to the team.
"I haven’t been up there yet, but I’m planning on going to their camp on May 18. I’m going to stay up there for a couple of days just to check everything out. My friends have told me about how great the facilities are and how nice the campus is.”
Johnson, who recently transferred to Birmingham from Taft High School, says that he has been in contact with the California coaching staff, but hasn’t received an offer yet. “I haven’t talked to them much since I came to Birmingham,” he said. “I heard from them more when I was at Taft. They send me some stuff and I got a couple of text messages from them. When I go up there for camp, I’m going to show them that I really want to go there. I’m definitely going to make my presence known.
“I’m looking to stay in California. I don’t want to go too far from home. Cal is a perfect distance…it’s far, but still close. I really want to play in the Pac-10. All the teams are good. It’s a very competitive conference that offers a lot of challenges for a QB.”
Johnson, who had a stellar sophomore season, throwing for 3071 yards with 39 touchdowns, claims written offers from both Nebraska and Ole Miss. “Nebraska offered me the beginning of my junior year. I get a lot of text messages from them saying that they want me to come out for a visit. I'm going to go for sure, I just don’t know when yet. It’s pretty far away.
“Ole Miss offered me right before I came to Birmingham, like in the middle of January,” he said. “I just got a text from the offensive coordinator (Dan Werner) today. I think that’s who he was. I’m going to take an official (visit) out there probably this summer. The only thing is they are really far away.”
Oregon, Washington, USC, UCLA, Oregon State, Georgia Tech, and Illinois have also expressed interest in the southern California signal caller. “I have gotten a lot of stuff in the mail and text messages from them. Oregon has been recruiting me a lot. I like them too. USC is cool, but they have so many quarterbacks. I’d be like eighth in line. I’d never play.”
Johnson left Taft last semester after head coach Troy Starr wanted to move him from quarterback to linebacker. “He told me I wouldn’t make it as a QB in college…that I’d have a better shot at linebacker. That’s why I came to Birmingham. I said ‘if that’s how you feel, fine. But you’re not going to change my dream.’
“I play a lot like Vince Young, who’s my favorite player,” he said. “I’m a dual threat quarterback. I fast and I can run and throw. I can read my receivers really well.
“I want to work on my reading the defense a little better. My reaction time is pretty good, but I want to be able to think ahead of them.”
As a junior, Johnson threw for 1900 yards, 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He also rushed for 250 yards. He benches 235, squats 380 and power cleans 225.
He reports a 2.8 core GPA. He is taking the SAT for the first time on May 8.