When he committed to East Carolina in August, Sandy Creek quarterback Rio Johnson chose the Pirates over programs such as Memphis, Ohio and UAB.
Despite committing nearly six months prior to national signing day, Johnson went out of his way to tell other schools that approached him that he planned to remain loyal to ECU.
He’ll likely be redshirted this fall, but will have an opportunity to become the Pirates’ starting quarterback in 2010.
Johnson shared his recruiting story with The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Q: You committed to East Carolina early and stood by your decision. How confident are you that you made the right choice? A: “I can’t wait to get to ECU. I’m excited. I start there on June 25. Me and [Heritage tight end and ECU signee] Justin Jones have become pretty good friends over the past few weeks.”
Q: Did any school make a serious run at you after you committed? A: Not really. In fact, me and [Sandy Creek] coach [Chip] Walker made the decision after I committed for me to call all the other schools that had offered me and say ‘thanks for offering, but I’m not going to your school.’”
Q: What kind of reaction did you receive? A: “They understood and said if I every de-committed or anything, then give them a call. But that wasn’t going to happen.”
Q: So what sold you on ECU? A: “Basically, because they were going to bowl games and winning conference championships while playing legitimate schools. And it’s the place my mom felt most comfortable sending me to school to.”
Q: What are the ECU coaches telling you about your role as a freshman? A: “My first year, I’ll probably be redshirted. I’ll put some weight on and learn the playbook. Hopefully the next season, I’ll compete for the starting job at quarterback.”
Q: If you could do anything over again during the recruiting process, what would it be? A: “I don’t think I’d do anything over again. I’m really happy with my decision. I thought it was the best one for me and still is.” Q: What advice can you give to juniors being recruited? A: “Recruiting is just a big game. The sooner you learn how to play the game, the better the school you’ll go to. You still have to have the talent. But I want to say getting your name out and going to camps at different schools is important. Get your film out early, not just after your junior year if you played as a sophomore.”
Q: If you could change one NCAA recruiting rule, what would it be? A: “I think you should be allowed to take more than five official visits. In fact, I don’t think there should be a limit.”
Q: Who was the best high school player you ever faced? A: “[Former Creekside and current Tennessee Volunteers defensive back] Eric Berry during my freshman season. Nobody could tackle him.”