Speedy Chattahoochee DB catches attention of Georgia Tech and UGA after breakout senior year

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Will Johnson, a speedy cornerback from Chattahoochee High School, is one of the state’s hottest senior prospects.

College scouts are still learning about Johnson, who is a former basketball point guard playing only his second year of football. He first caught the attention of recruiters after being clocked at 4.36 seconds in the 40-yard dash at Vanderbilt camp this summer, and has followed it up with a breakout senior season as the most dominating player for Chattahoochee, the defending Class AAAA state champions.

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Johnson will be one of the featured prospects when Chattahoochee plays at South Forsyth at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The game will be broadcast live on WSB-TV’s digital channel 2.2 and on www.wsbtv.com.

“I’ve been fortunate over the years at Chattahoochee and as an assistant at Tucker, Camden County and Burke County to have I think over 30 D1 defensive backs, and Will Johnson is just as good as any of them,” Chattahoochee coach Terry Crowder said. “It’s just his speed and the way he’s coachable. He’s just a very dominant player.”

Chattahoochee CB Will Johnson (Photo courtesy of HoochFootball.net)

Chattahoochee CB Will Johnson was clocked at 4.36 in the 40 at Vanderbilt camp last summer (Photo courtesy of HoochFootball.net)

Both Georgia Tech and UGA have expressed interest in Johnson, who currently holds scholarship offers from Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Kentucky, according to Crowder.

What about Georgia Tech? “I just talked with [assistant Lamar Owens] the other night. He wants me to come meet the DB coach there. After the season, when it’s time to take official visits, he wants me to take an official visit to Georgia Tech and I told him that I would. It would be great to get an offer from Georgia Tech. They play in a good conference, you can get a top education there, and it’s only 45 minutes from home.” 

Johnson said he was scouted by UGA DB coach Scott Lakatos earlier this season. “[Lakatos] is really impressed with my speed, and said a lot of nice things. He told me that Georgia was going to sign only one DB at first, and now they are going to take two. I’m pretty sure I’m in the mix. We’ll see.”

Signing another DB or two is a priority for both UGA and Georgia Tech. UGA has 15 commitments for 2012, and none are DBs. Meanwhile, Georgia Tech has 11 commitments, with only Antonio Crawford of Tampa probably getting a look at DB.

Johnson was a little late in showing up on recruiting radars because he focused on basketball only as a point guard during his freshman and sophomore years at Northview High School. After transferring to Chattahoochee, he switched his concentration to football.

This year, Johnson starts both ways, and has 25 receptions for 554 yards and 6 touchdowns at wide receiver, along with four carries for 99 yards and one touchdown. At cornerback, Johnson doesn’t have many stats simply because teams rarely throw in his direction.

Johnson has a 3.3 GPA and plans to major in Business and minor in Law. Johnson is also a year ahead in school, only turning 17 years old last week. When he moved from New York to Atlanta in grade school, he tested well enough to be placed a year ahead of his age group.

Heritage DE Ryan Watson

Heritage DE Ryan Watson

RELATED: Every year, there are 4-5 seniors that make you ask “How does this kid not have double or three times as many scholarship offers?” Former Miller Grove wide receiver Stephen Hill (now at Georgia Tech) was one a few years ago, as is Heritage High School senior Ryan Watson this season. He’s a 6-foot-3, 240-pounder who starts at defensive end, but also plays some tight end and running back. He has a 3.3 GPA and 1,140 SAT score, with early offers from Georgia State, Air Force and Presbyterian. “Indiana hasn’t offered but they are bringing him up for an official visit next month,” Heritage coach Chad Frazier said. “Indiana has flown down here to see him play twice, and I think they may offer when he goes up there for a visit. We’ll see what happens.” Watson is a mismatch for most offensive tackles with his power and strength, along with his speed off the edge (timed at 4.6 in the 40 at UGA camp). He has the grades. He also plays his best in Heritage’s biggest games, registering three sacks in last week’s loss to Flowery Branch. For the season, Watson has 70 tackles, including 18 tackles for losses and 9 sacks. He also could play multiple positions in college. Having seen Watson play both in person and on film, I’d say he’s definitely one of the state’s most overlooked seniors.

  • Georgia Southern has offered Dutchtown defensive tackle Darian Small. The 6-foot-2, 285-pound senior also has an offer from UT-Chattanooga, and is under scholarship consideration from Troy, Middle Tennessee State, Delaware and Elon.
  • One of the state’s top prospects for 2013, Dooly County defensive tackle Montravius Adams, put up some Nintendo-like stats with 9 tackles for losses and two sacks in last Friday’s win over Central Talbotton to clinch a playoff spot. The 6-3, 278-pound Adams has an early offer from Clemson, and is also being scouted by UGA, Alabama, Florida and Oregon. He will play in the Rising Seniors Bowl on Dec. 30.
  • Mays linebacker Bruce Burkes (6-0, 235) committed to Tennessee State on Thursday.
  • Robert Nkemdiche is not only a candidate to be the nation’s No. 1 overall football prospect for 2013, but he’s also making cameo appearances in music videos. Yeah, he’s a pretty big deal. The highly-regarded junior DE from Grayson High School made an appearance in the below video, which hypes up Grayson’s matchup Friday against defending Class AAAAA state champion Brookwood. This is a better video than the Chicago Bears and the “Super Bowl Shuffle” (It starts off slow but be patient, it gets better). It has nearly 200,000 page views in 10 days. Brookwood tailback Nick Tompkins, who is committed to Michigan State, gets a special “shout out” in the video. Grayson QB Nick Schuessler is in there, too. Great stuff, check it out …

60 comments Add your comment


October 27th, 2011
7:40 am


October 27th, 2011
7:41 am

Hope the young man seriously considers UGA


October 27th, 2011
7:44 am

somebody has to be first


October 27th, 2011
7:45 am

Hooch dad

October 27th, 2011
7:46 am

Will is going to Arkansas. After watching him the last two years, I’m convinced he would be one of the top 10 prospects in Georgia had he played football as a freshman and sophomore. He’s bigger, stronger and much faster than Geno Smith, but Smith has the edge with experience and field smarts. Will can FLAT-OUT run and has great hips and flexibility. You can tell he is a former point guard. He should also be a junior but skipped a grade. Watch him on TV tonight. You’ll like what you see.


October 27th, 2011
7:49 am

Young man obviously didn’t read about GT graduation and education woes


October 27th, 2011
7:52 am

The good thing about playing at Tech is the availability of tickets. Your family will never have to worry about buying tickets in advance. Plus it is easier to concentrate in Tech’s stadium. The 26,000 fans are really quiet.

Larry Bird

October 27th, 2011
8:02 am

I thought Lakatos only likes 6′8″ and taller corners…

GT Rich

October 27th, 2011
8:04 am

Tech has been and will be on ESPN and/or ABC for 8 of 12 regular season games this year.

Tokyo jacket

October 27th, 2011
8:07 am

Tech could really use some of that speed. This is another case where we could pick up an under the radar player that turns into NFL talent. Bring him home CAG!

Tokyo jacket

October 27th, 2011
8:14 am

Dap, the good thing about playing at UGA is that your coach will be your best friend, let you commit crimes and still play, take you to church, sing happy birthday to you, and tell you that if you sign with this year’s dream team, you’ll win the national championship. The bad thing though is that you will not beat Florida, you will not win your division, let alone your conference, and your best friend will no longer be there when your eligibility is up.


October 27th, 2011
8:26 am

Dawgs need to sign at least 4 OL, maybe 5. And sign 4 next year. We need about 12 on scholarship.
2 DB’s sounds about right.

Jim N Buckhead

October 27th, 2011
8:27 am

TJ- He could go to GT play in a crap conference in a system that won’t prepare him for the NFL and they don not care if he gets a degree and oh yeah lose to the team that you made fun.


October 27th, 2011
8:30 am

Ah! Nice try Tokyo Jacket. But at least you manned up and didn’t hide under another name.

Based on history, I can understand you trash talking about Florida. But also noticed you didn’t make any claims about Tech beating UGA this year either. Your concerns might lie with your own coaching staff. One more .500 season and two more losses to UGA (which I never assume – but if you look at the trend – there’s a good chance) – then your CPJ will likely be the head coach at one of the service academies.

Enjoy your time in Japan. Tough being away, especially during football season.

Radiation Getting To You

October 27th, 2011
8:34 am

Tokyo Jacket – is the radiation from the Fukushima plant finally beginning to take its toll on your brain?

GT Insider

October 27th, 2011
8:35 am

Jim in Buckhead,

Play in a system that won’t get you in the NFL?

Guess that doesn’t say much about UGA then either does it? I mean considering GT and UGA play the same defensive system.

You sir, are ill-informed.


October 27th, 2011
8:50 am

Georgia has bigger fish to fry…I hope.

Tech’s fish is fried, crispy, and Al is polishing his Super Bowl ring, which has gotten tarnished pretty bad since he got it. ;)


October 27th, 2011
9:02 am

“When he moved from New York to Atlanta in grade school, he tested well enough to be placed a year ahead of his age group.”

In other words education in Georgia is way behind education in New York.


October 27th, 2011
9:26 am

Wonder if this will be another “snooze you lose” campaign for potential UGA recruit.

Old Boy

October 27th, 2011
9:51 am

He looks pretty solid for 180 lbs and a sub-4.4 40. I am guessing this kid will make a lot of coaches wish they offered him sooner.

News | MrSEC.com

October 27th, 2011
9:52 am

[...] Mark Richt, who has faced “hot seat” talk this season.2. Defensive back Will Johnson is receiving more attention from Georgia and Georgia Tech.3. 2013 wide receiver Tramel Terry has picked up an offer from [...]


October 27th, 2011
9:57 am

You people making a big deal out of Techs graduation rate are not getting the message. If these people apply themselves to their studys they can graduate. It just shows Tech is not gonna PUSH them into some weak good for nothing course with a diploma that means NOTHING. Say what you want but Tech is a university geared toward academics Its no football factory.

GT Joe

October 27th, 2011
10:10 am

Wow, 1140 SAT would help GT raise its already nation-leading SAT average for football players.


October 27th, 2011
10:17 am

would love to see him stay in-state…preferably at Tech, of course, but a kid good enough to get this many D1 offers should not need to leave georgia to play college ball. i’d rather see him at UGA than leave for mississippi or arkansas.

GT4Life (the original)

October 27th, 2011
10:24 am

Mr. Carville – you need to give Brookwood equal time with their response video to Grayson. Here’s the link, it’s actually the better song.


Tokyo jacket

October 27th, 2011
10:28 am

Dawg1, good comments. You’re right, I can’t brag about beating a team we don’t beat. But, statistically, we wind up better in our conference than yours. Of course, yours has produced the national champ for the better part of a decade. I still say we have a better shot of seeing CPJ on the flats in two years than CMR. Your fanbase expects more (and you kind of should based on the money you spend).

I’m back now, but it was my handle for four years, so I keep it. I made it to at least one game every season though – long flight.

Big Dawg

October 27th, 2011
10:51 am


No that is not TRUE, it happens that the young man is smart. I live in Southwest Connecticut and work in New York City the public schools are terrible up here as they spend most of the money on Superintendents and all of their assistants as each little town/township has their own separate school system. New York City wastes about 40% of the money that they take in for their school budget.

Go Dawgs


October 27th, 2011
10:58 am

Business and law. Georgia is where it’s at!


October 27th, 2011
11:25 am

I went to high school with this kid and he is a freak athlete. Hope UGA picks him up.


October 27th, 2011
12:18 pm



Georgia Fan

October 27th, 2011
12:34 pm

UGA’s top target at CB is Yuri Wright. We will know where things stand with Wright after his visit to UGA. If things don’t look good then I hope Will gets his offer, but you can’t fault the coaches for going after one of the top 5 CBs in the country.


October 27th, 2011
12:41 pm

@ GT Insider: I’m sorry my friend, but it is you that is ill-informed. Yes he will be playing in the same defensive scheme at either school bt what makes a player better are the long practice hors of going against your starting offense. See where I’m going here?


October 27th, 2011
1:23 pm

UGA and GT will probably miss out on yet another HOOCH player if they don’t offer soon. How many players from last years State Championship team did they take? Zero. Big mistake coaches, big mistake. Home town fans want Home town players, too!!!


October 27th, 2011
1:30 pm

If UGA is looking at this guy they should look at Jonathan Jones from Carrollton, the fastest DB in the state, he comes from a winning program and has started for three years, he has already committed, but UGA could use him.


October 27th, 2011
1:30 pm

Can’t think of any players from Hooch team last year we would have wanted. Good second-tier D1 players, but nothing special. Best might have been the kicker, but we didn’t need one in last year’s class.


October 27th, 2011
2:08 pm

This kid would shine at Georgia Tech. Come on down!!!!


October 27th, 2011
2:44 pm

Nkemdiche looks like UGA all the way. He will be right at home. Another Pollock baby.

re Al

October 27th, 2011
3:00 pm

those of you complaining about the d are nuts….

we have the 2nd youngest team in the country and our 2nd year d coach has us rising from the last in the ACC d to middle of the pack to date.

take away the points that were the result of o / st play and the d is looking a whole lot better as compared to the last few years. my guess is the d is legitimate ppg is under 20.

wait until coach groh has a chance to stock the roster with players suited for the 3-4.

want to single out one of our players. sweeting is da man. he has done some of the best cover work i have seen at gt in a while.

kudo’s to sweeting.


October 27th, 2011
3:47 pm

Nkemdiche = Bama or LSU. Book it Dano…..

Beast from the East

October 27th, 2011
4:29 pm

#1 tight-end in the country, Kent Taylor, committed to the Gators today!


October 27th, 2011
5:15 pm

Ethics in Athletics – I hate haters!


October 27th, 2011
5:30 pm



October 27th, 2011
5:36 pm

Why does the county look the other way when other players are getting ruled ineligible? If this kid is zoned for Northview and everyone knows he used a fake address, the county should do the right thing and make hooch forfeit their games. I don’t think Ethics is a hater, just telling the truth which seems difficult for some people.

Ethics in Athletics

October 27th, 2011
6:14 pm

NoName Defense – I hate cheaters!


October 27th, 2011
7:25 pm

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT – Everyone was all over Richt for losing some players and poor conduct off the field. The reality is that it happens everywhere, we just read abobut it more often here bacause it’s Dawgs country. Here is a paragraph from Gainesville –
“Christian, a tight end, and Clark, a wide receiver, are the eighth and ninth players to leave the program since Muschamp took over in December. The Gators now have only 72 scholarship players, 13 below the NCAA limit.”
Not to mention they have another linebacker suspended for legal issues and we could probably dig up more.
Not defending Richt as much as saying the commentary is over-blown.

bitter spoiled recruit

October 27th, 2011
7:31 pm

stand by all recruits————–D-DAY is saturday for CMR!!!!!!

——————-if you just committed to CMR—————please de-commit now

———————–we only want players that commit to —”UGA”


October 27th, 2011
8:00 pm

That has to be the LAMEST video I have ever seen… What coach would even allow this to go public…. Guess I am picking the Broncos from Brookwood to win…


October 27th, 2011
8:11 pm

Hooch Dad…..your kidding, right? Will is going to sign with Arkansas? He does know that “That Coach Is Still There”. Kids should not play for a coward.. Talk to him, please. Or better yet, see if he can talk to some of the Falcon players that played for him. That should do it!

Brainiac(Dawg For Life) / (CMR fan for life)

October 27th, 2011
8:25 pm

Harold: What planet have you been living on? The only thing of significance accomplished by the BUNGLEBEES in recent years is an ACC Championship(Which isn’ much of an accomplishment to begin with) which they had to forfiet. Are you old enough to remember the last time the beat UGA in ANYTHING?

Brainiac(Dawg For Life) / (CMR fan for life)

October 27th, 2011
8:38 pm

GT Joe: Would that also be Nationleading in graduating your football players. Wonder who takes the SAT for those intellectually enhanced kids that score so high on their SAT but just can’t get that diploma.