Rico Johnson, the Georgia football signee who found out this week that he was not cleared academically by the NCAA, signed Thursday to play for the new Georgia Prep Sports Academy in Atlanta.
Georgia coaches will keep in touch but advised Johnson to open up his recruiting, said Michael Carson, Georgia Prep’s head football coach. Carson, formerly coach of M.L. King High School, spoke with Georgia assistant Tony Ball and got the impression that Georgia now was a long shot to resign Johnson because of the Bulldogs’ depth at receiver.
Johnson didn’t sound deterred.
‘’Any school that will give me a chance, it really doesn’t matter,’’ said Johnson, a wide receiver out of Swainsboro. “I just want to prove to them I’m not out of it. Hopefully I’ll get back to Georgia, but if I can’t, I’ll move on.’’
Carson said Johnson is probably the most high-profile player to commit to his school, which is something of a novelty in Georgia.
“’It’s a prep program similar to Hargrave or Fork Union [two military colleges in Virginia],’’ Carson said. “It’s for high school kids that don’t meet the minimum to qualify to get into college. They have a chance to come into our program and get what they need academically with hopes of moving on to a college institution in January .’’
Practice starts Aug. 1, and the team’s opener is Aug. 25 at LaGrange College. The team is scheduled to play 11 games, all on the road.