Rewind: A.J. Johnson runs wild after committing to Vols


Looking back at the players, plays and games that caught our attention over the weekend. Let us know what you saw and heard.

Linebacker A.J. Johnson committed to the Tennessee Volunteers this past Friday afternoon. Then he hopped on a school bus with his Gainesville High teammates and ran roughshod over rival North Hall a couple of hours later.

Best known for wreaking havoc on defense from his inside linebacker position, Johnson made his presence known on offense in this game. I got to witness his work firsthand as part of the broadcast team for the Channel 2 Sports Zone Game of the Week between Gainesville and North Hall.

After taking just two snaps as the “Wild Elephant” in Gainesville’s shotgun spread offense in the first half, Johnson spent almost the entire second half on offense. He finished with 17 carries for 192 yards and scored all three touchdowns in the Red Elephants’ 20-13 victory at The Brickyard.

“One of the most dominating performances I’ve ever seen,” coach Bruce Miller said.

Football is the ultimate team sport, but Johnson was unquestionably the difference in the game. Running a simple option-read play to the left or right, North Hall defenders struggled to bring down the 6-foot-3, 235-pound Johnson as he kept the clock and the chains the moving in the fourth quarter to preserve the victory. What’s more, Johnson never came off the field in the second half. In addition controlling the middle from his inside linebacker position, Johnson also played on Gainesville’s kick-coverage teams.

“I got a little tired but I can do that all season if they need me to,” he said. “I hope they do. I enjoyed it.”

As for committing to Tennessee, that was a bit of a surprise, too. Not the fact that he decided to go with the Vols — he committed to them as a junior before Lane Kiffin left for Southern Cal — but the timing of it. Earlier in the week Johnson said he planned to take all five of his official visits.

“I’ve been liking them the most,” Johnson said of the Vols. “It was between Tennessee and Florida and I just kept contemplating it. I prayed about it and decided I was ready to commit to Tennessee. But I might still take a couple of visits.”

Johnson committed to UT assistant coach Chuck Smith on the phone Friday as they discussed plans for his visit. On Saturday, Johnson spent the day in Knoxville for the Tennessee-Florida game.

“I know Florida may be a better team than Tennessee right now,” he said “But I’m looking to the future and I just like Tennessee better. I enjoy it every time I go up there and I really like the coaches.”

Carver’s Isaiah Crowell, Gabe Wright rock on

Carver-Columbus tailback Isaiah Crowell continued his impressive run through his senior season and this time his good work was captured for a national television audience. Crowell gained 185 yards on 27 carries and scored all three touchdowns for the Tigers as they defeated LaGrange 21-3 in a game carried on ESPNU.

For those keeping count, that’s 743 yards on 67 carries in four games for Crowell. That’s an average of 11.1 yards per carry.

Later this weekend, LaGrange coach Steve Pardue told the Todd Holcomb of the AJC and Georgia High School Football Daily that Crowell was probably the best player at any position he’s faced in 20 years at LaGrange, including Quincy Carter and his LaGrange’s own Bruce Thornton.

Without prompting, Pardue added: “Gabe Wright ain’t far behind him either. I thought he had a phenomenal game against us. He’s 297 pounds and real athletic.’’

Pardue was asked what impressed you about Wright?

“We couldn’t block him all game. Other than that, he didn’t impress me at all. On our second drive, we had a guy open for a touchdown, and he knocked it down [from the line of scrimmage]. To be that big and athletic, that’s tough.’’

Thanks to Austin Brown, no drop off for Flowery Branch

Last week we talked about how there hadn’t been much drop off for Calhoun High despite the loss of the record-setting quarterback/wide receiver combination of Nash Nance and Da’Rick Rogers. Well, the same can be said about Flowery Branch.

Despite the graduation of all-state quarterback Connor Shaw, the Falcons are still racking up big offensive numbers. That’s because of the play of quarterback Austin Brown, who transferred in from Habersham County after last season.

In a win over Cedar Shoals this past weekend, Brown was 12-of-20 for 261 yards and three touchdowns. For the season, Brown has passed for 886 yards and 8 touchdowns with no interceptions for the 4-0 Falcons.

Meanwhile, Shaw continues to get significant playing time as a true freshman at South Carolina. He was 4-of-5 for 42 yards and had 22 yards rushing on four carries in the Gamecocks’ win over Furman this past Saturday.

Etc. . . .

C.J. Uzomah continues to get it done from all over the field for North Gwinnett. Playing both quarterback and wide receiver, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Auburn commitment had four receptions for 106 yards and two touchdowns, went 4-of-4 passing for 39 yards and had four rushes for 22 yards in the Bulldogs’ win over Collins Hill. Quarterback Scotty Hosch was 13-of-14 for 226 yards and three touchdowns in the game. . . .

Valdosta’s two major college prospects had major impacts in the Wildcats’ 64-62 overtime win over Brunswick. Five-star tight end Jay Rome had 5 catches for 88 yards and two touchdowns. Mitchell, a four-star defensive back who also plays wide receiver at Valdosta, had five catches for 196 yards and two TDs. The teams combined for 1,165 yards offense. . . .

Stephenson graduate Raymond Sanders scored his third touchdown in three games with a 28-yard scoring run in Kentucky’s win over Akron. . . . North Paulding WR Chris Conley had seven catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns. . . . Kell’s Brian Randolph scored the winning touchdown on a 34-yard run with 35 seconds left in a 20-13 win over East Paulding. . . . Aaron Wimberly had 350 all-purpose yards in South Gwinnett’s 62-27 win over Central Gwinnett, including a 97-yard kickoff return. . . . Austin Hardin kicked a 59-yard game-winning field goal with three seconds left for Marist.

91 comments Add your comment


September 20th, 2010
2:26 pm

@ The Facts
You left out Georgia. Say what you want about the Gators–17/20 vs UGA.
Gators have WON 23 straight reg season games and have won 13 straight road games. The GATORS also have the BEST record in the BCS over the past 20 yrs–202-52. You Dawg fans drink the same kool-aid every yr when Richt starts losing. Say what you want but after Fl,Tx & Cal GEORGIA has some of the best talent in the nation–more than enough to stock your team. You have to WIN to get the GOOD athletes to want to come to Athens. You are kidding yourselves if you REALLY believe a wide rec ( a good one) would have won those 2 games. Huh? You couldn’t stop Lattimore then you couldn’t stop Mallet–you were going to plug AJ in as a LB/CB???? It is gut check time and someone needs to take charge and get the DAWGS back on track. You fans and alums need to get behind your new AD and demand he bring in a top caliber proven coach. I would look at Utah, Stanford & Boise for starters—proven winners with good coaching staffs and high on discipline with few to no arrests.
The fans/alums can start making lots of noise to make that happen….


September 20th, 2010
2:54 pm

No reports on Georgia Tech recuits
They must not be playing good. I know Jeff Greene is hurt but have not heard any updates on any other.

Here and update for a Tech commit:

With his future college coach looking on, Durham Hillside’s Vad Lee showed Paul Johnson what he has to look forward to.

The 6-foot-3 quarterback – and Georgia Tech recruit – dazzled Johnson and the home crowd with five rushing touchdowns and 259 total yards, as the Hornets stayed undefeated by easily disposing of previously unbeaten Greensboro Dudley 33-8 on Friday night.

Gen Neyland

September 20th, 2010
2:59 pm

GT Sambo : Your memory’s shorter than a Yellow Jackets stinger. Stinger envy..?


September 20th, 2010
3:08 pm

I love all the trash talking from the georgia fans. they must have forgotten the little spanking they got last year by a much less talented ut squad.


September 20th, 2010
3:13 pm

Of course UGA didn’t want him. They have much more talented players on their team already that are not being developed. Funnier than UT coming to Georgia to get their players and coaches is that the players and coaches are leaving. When was that last national title? You guys talk about it and Hershel like Bama fans used to talk about the Bear. At least they have their BCS national title.


September 20th, 2010
3:20 pm

Thanks for the article Chip…

Delbert D.

September 20th, 2010
3:31 pm

Jim Harbaugh will not leave Palo Alto for a small town in the south. I would not say that about almost any other place, but Palo Alto is a really fine environment. Plus, Stanford can afford to pay him a fortune to keep him if they want to. They are the 2nd wealthiest private school, behind only Harvard. That’s important because there can be no whining from the public sector about salaries or anything.

GT Sambo

September 20th, 2010
3:33 pm

That was NOT bice to bring up Grantham’s stint with the Browns. That was a low blow and you should apologize. Talk about kicking a Dawg when its down…

GT Sambo

September 20th, 2010
3:33 pm

That should be nice…. sorry.


September 20th, 2010
3:40 pm

Georgia fans are like Stuart Smalley. “We’re big enough, smart enough, and gosh darn it we are a good football team. LOL! Keep telling yourselves that pups.

Les W. Moore

September 20th, 2010
3:50 pm

Mutt Nation, why don’t you go ahead and tell us what Georgia high school all-americans you don’t want to sign. We’ll wait for your list….

Delbert D.

September 20th, 2010
3:54 pm

Reality – Now you’ve done it, you’ve brought that sommonbeach left-wing pinko commie-lovin’ Al Franken into this, and we cannot have that heah on this blawg!


September 20th, 2010
4:02 pm

@Delbert(get a clue)

Not sure what Stanford you are talking about! The same Stanford that has cut back their athletic dept, put a salary freeze in place and put Harbaugh’s extension off due to Stanford’s financial woes–glad to give you a link if you like. Harbaugh is making $1.25 mil–chump change in today’s market. Harbaugh will go but it will be to a big time program with a lot of upside. Richt is making $2 mil a yr through 2013. If he leaves or they want to replace him it’s a buyout of remainder of contract for either side. To get rid of Richt after this yr they have to pay him $6 mil–that may be too many $$$ for the DAWG pups to EAT!!


September 20th, 2010
4:17 pm

This score just in >>> Miss St 24 Georgia 17 <<<
Richt says yet again "This was another moral victory"
My guess is you all will be having just about as many "moral" victories as REAL victories. Are moral victories OK if you have now lost 3 SEC games in a row? That Vandy game may be looming as your season breaker-that game appears to be for the SEC East CELLAR. At least you get them between the Hedges…….Go Dawg Pups

Delbert D.

September 20th, 2010
4:37 pm

BullGator12 – Why the insult? Don’t like Palo Alto or the Bay Area? I didn’t say “would pay him”, I said “could”. Yes, $1.25 million is cheap these days. Anyway, that Bleacher Report site (graciously provided by Flat Tire) has Richt at $3,096,576.

Go ahead and give me the link; I’d appreciate it. I’m not sure if the Bleacher Report site is any better than that Sham Wow site that had multiple errors .

haters are skaters

September 20th, 2010
4:46 pm


in discussing the ‘10 season only…….are you really trying to give pointers to UGA as to how to win? at the end of the day, the only stat that matters is W-L…..but the gators and any delusional fan of theirs is far from within their right to criticize anyone.

Delbert D.

September 20th, 2010
4:47 pm

BullGator12 – Never mind, I found Stanford’s 2010-2011 budget.


September 20th, 2010
4:51 pm

Maybe if UGA land the next Lattimore hopefully CMR can seal the deal on Crowell we just need to get one huge recruit change the face the program like Lattimore .


September 20th, 2010
5:09 pm

Had no idea Stanford was in such a $ mess. With that alumni base, how is that possible.


September 20th, 2010
5:15 pm

Hey GT Sambo, you lost to Kansas. Try beating Uga more than once a decade, then you can talk.


September 20th, 2010
5:34 pm

UGA should have gone hard after A.J. Jonson – no excuse for losing a player of this quality to a Vols team in disarray.

haters are skaters

September 20th, 2010
5:40 pm

Floriduh, hate to say it….but UGA is in a fragile state as well


September 20th, 2010
6:00 pm

Justmyopinion, Caleb King is nursing an injury to his ankle and I wouldn’t depend on him since he is always injured. UGA could use at least 3 RBs in this class but, will do go to get one with the way they are playing. GloryGlory, it’s going to take time with the new defensive scheme but, we should be farther along than what they are playing. Defense is not aggressive enough and CBs and S have been a big disappointment. I expected Lakatos to have them playing better considering the way they played at UConn. DBs need to get stronger and learn how to react to the plays better. Overall the entire team needs to play faster and more aggressive. The coaches need to do a better job on both sides of the ball and as for Bobo, Richt needs to assume the playcalling duties until he finds a competent Offensive Coordinator. He’s been calling plays for the last four years and nothing has changed. The offense needs motion from the WR and TE position to keep the other teams defense guessing and to spread them out so that we can run the ball. We need some excitement on the offense and he is not the answer. Richt continues to stick with him, but with a loss to Miss. State that will be the end for both of them.


September 20th, 2010
6:33 pm

Just keep running your mouth Bullgator!

just the truth

September 20th, 2010
6:35 pm

and how quickly they turn after 3 games. Typical. One guys even talking basketball here !!!
Great fans errrr band wagoners I mean.

[...] Rewind: A.J. Johnson runs wild after committing to Vols [...]

Dawg Whisperer

September 20th, 2010
8:25 pm

Gator fans will always pile on when given the opportunity. Just keep reminding them, UGA still owns the Gators, 47-39. Did I say 47-39, yeah, I guess I did. I can count pass 20 unlike Gator fans. UGA will beat Miss St. because they are clearly better. I can’t say that they had better talent than the two top 15 programs they lost to. SC and Arkansas had two seasoned QBs which can’t hurt in tight games. The Gators will lose three games this year because they simply aren’t that good. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of those is to UGA. And if happens, we will gloat to no end just like the swamp people do whenever UGA loses.


September 20th, 2010
8:26 pm

So, will Crowell go to Athens and become a mediocre back or go to Tuscaloosa and get a Heisman?


September 20th, 2010
8:33 pm

TN is starting to kick butt in recruiting while Coach Richt is asleep
at the wheel. UGA continues to lose and play very unmotivated football.
I may have to return my tickets if Richt can’t start winning in the
big games!



September 20th, 2010
8:45 pm

To BullGator 12, We sure don’t Urban to control arrests thats for sure!!!


September 20th, 2010
8:45 pm


September 20th, 2010
9:08 pm

Chip-the performance of the week may have been Kane Whitehurst @ Chattahoochee. Kid had about 250yds of total yardage on 5 touches in the 1st half.

It's 'em grades..

September 20th, 2010
11:35 pm

Could have gotten in UGA anywaves.

Ain’t notin’ but smart boys go thair.


September 21st, 2010
9:18 am

Good choice AJ. Welcome to Big Orange Country! Glad you dont want to be apart of the “Nightmare Team” UGA is attempting to build. UGAs class will be raided by January anyway and CMR will go back to serving beers or selling whole life policies


September 21st, 2010
9:52 am

@ poopdawg
dawg whisperer

Say what you want–come to Atlanta on Fri.,Dec 4th and I’ll but around or 2 if you’re old enough to drink. Gator alum & fans will be there representing the SEC East AGAIN……The Dawgs do hold the all time series lead and if that is enough to make you happy hang onto it and hopefully that will comfort you in your 7-5 season. Of course your kids have grown up in the last 20 yrs and they know the real story. Arrests happen–”None” of the kids arresting had a prior record when recruited. Also, just for the record, if you track the 27 kids arrested on Meyer’s 5 1/2 yrs EVERY single one had offers from multiple major schools, USC,Bama, Tenn, Texas, Ohio St, Georgia, etc… In fact of the 27, 17 had offers from UGA. You all had what 8 arrests in a month or so? Tell me you wouldn’t accept(not like or be proud of)but ACCEPT 27 arrests for 3 SEC title & 2 NC in the past 5 yrs!!! The GATORS have played in 10 count em, 10 of the 17 SEC championships. Hell we are there so often we are getting time shares there to use every DEC. I am not kicking the Dawgs–I’m saying you all need to get some balls and demand that Georgia clean house and be accountable. That coaching staff that Richt has incohesive, indecisive and coaching scared. I have said before Ga. is in the top 5 of states for high school football talent. Hell USC kept Lattimore in state yet you all couldn’t keep Brown in state–that is something Ga needs to fix.


September 21st, 2010
1:12 pm

Same Old UT

September 20th, 2010
11:52 am
Always going after Georgia players. A new wrinkle: going after Georgia native coaches. Guess the Volunteer State has to go find “Volunteers” in other states who know how to play football.

More like an exodus from Georgia to a much better program and knowing UGA has become an annual beatdown for UT


September 21st, 2010
1:20 pm

*** Nesbitt for Heismen ***

(((( 45 – 42 ))))


September 21st, 2010
1:23 pm

Ur um UT 21-16-2 all time over UGA

bitter CMR

September 21st, 2010
8:31 pm

like i said on my weekly t.v. show, its not about winning its how uuuu play the game excluding a dozen stupid mastakes and blown coaching calls well look the sun dont set on my as— in tallahassee yaaaaaw, got my plane ticket and just bark and ill change the date, right now it is set for jan 2 2011, got to get to tally to help with recruiting sea. ps go da’trick rogers (thinking to myself “punk as— bi—-)


September 22nd, 2010
8:38 am



September 24th, 2010
7:42 am

AJ is a great player! Put another red flag next to Coach Richt for
letting another Top in state player leave the state……..
And AJ going to UT is making me even more aggravated!